Sunday, November 29, 2015

TIES 2015 - Do. Not. Miss. It!!!

  Every year I have the opportunity to attend THE BEST CONFERENCE; The TIES Conference in Minneapolis!  There is NOTHING worth your money more than this!  The BEST of the BEST come to Minneapolis to showcase their technology wisdom!!!  Everything from iPads, to apps, to the Four C's, to totally amazing website - you can SEE IT ALL!  I literally have to decompress each night and then again when I get home because of all the terrific things that I am exposed to.  Now - really, it's no one different from us - they just have the guts to display and show what we may of may not.  MANY of the things down there I have seen but MANY of the things I have not - THAT'S THE BEST PART - you can pick and choose which session you want to attend - walk out if it isn't what you thought - and jump in on another one you think you might like instead.  TWO DAYS OF TECHNOLOGY NERDS!!  That's right - ya'll - fellow teachers, technology specialist, media peeps and more - AMAZING!!!  If you ARE able to get down to Minneapolis - DO IT!  IT will be worth your time!

I don't know about you, but I was able to get some much needed rest and am SO ready to roll tomorrow with whatever troubles and problems might jump my way - YAHOO!!!

Take care and Happy Night all -
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trojan Turf - Our School's Online Newspaper

    I can't remember if I have talked about our school newspaper, Trojan Turf, but it is SO fun and SO worth looking into if your school doesn't have an online paper.  Mrs. Gross, one of our English teachers, teaches a Journalism class.  Students in grades 10-12 can be in the class as an English elective.  The students learn the ins and outs of newspapers, writing stories, taking photos, and editing documents.  She has all the students write in the class, she chose two editors, and one student does all the online publishing, which I help mentor.  They also have to keep a blog and write on that every week.  The topic is his/her choosing, but they are responsible for keeping that up to date.  I love this as it teaches them how to become online writers and see the importance of it.
     Our site is hosted by SNO, which is an online and mobile publishing site.  I want to say we pay like $300 each year for them to host this.....really not that much for what the students are gaining
from this.  Check out the interface below - and BE SURE to check out the link of OUR online paper!

Happy Thanksgiving all - take care
Mrs. I:)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Few Great Math and Social Studies Websites:)

    Mr. Hermes, one of our Math teachers, attended the NCTM Conference a few weeks ago and came back with some great websites I'm not sure everyone knows about.  He mentioned in his write up the following, "Some of the key points I took away was the attention span of the average person is five minutes.  What I took from this is that we have five minutes to hook them and get them vested in our lessons/discussions, or whatever we are doing for the day.  How our students brains work are changing.  A majority of our students are “gamers” so they are used to failing.  To be successful we must incorporate failing into our classrooms.  Most video games you play, you get so far, then fail.  Start over get so far, and then fail.  Start over again get so far, and then fail.  Sooner or later you figure it out."  Which I TOTALLY agree with - and he shared the following websites:

1. Sumdog - an entire website based on the idea of gaming and failing and playing some more
2. Greg Tang Math - I think I have mentioned this one before - but it is WORTH.  THE.  LOOK!  It is a great on to not only play and work Kakooma! (GOOGLE THIS ONE AS IT'S SO AMAZING), it has many things to offer in the areas of math - go check it out!

  So I totally follow this guy on Schoology.  His name is Greg Semmens and he does a Three Things on Thursdays and it is GREAT:)!!  The websites that he showed this week that I really thought were great were:

1. D-Day to Victory - this one is SO SO AMAZING!  It follows the journey from the beaches of Normandy to the siege of Berlin.  You'll LOVE LOVE IT:)!!
2.  Theban Mapping Project - an interactive map of every known tomb in the Valley of the Kings - again - really neat!

That's all for tonight - Happy weekend and I will blog next week about FRUSTRATIONS, HAPPENINGS, and THINGS THAT ARE ROLLING! Have a great one -
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Making Gains with Makey Makey

I HAVE to brag about two students (Jimmy and Ethan) that worked to create switches for some students.  I wrote a blog a month ago about a device called a Makey Makey.  The idea is that you use electricity to create a switch for students that maybe can't use a computer mouse or keyboard.  By plugging the Makey Makey into the USB of your computer, these students can then activate the space bar or click button to moves things, play games, make music, etc.. on the computer.  So here is what Jimmy and Ethan came up with:

Here is an example of a joystick type switch where they can play PacMan, or mover directionally.  They used cardboard and then glued tinfoil onto it to attach the alligator clips to.  They also took markers to draw arrows on the tinfoil to show directions.

This shows them playing a "piano" that was created again with cardboard covered in tinfoil.  You will notice that when they play they are wearing a "bracelet" that they made to clip on the ground clip.

 Finally, two switches were made to create tap spots for simply clicking or activating the space bar for various things - in this case, bongos.

The WHOLE idea is to give students the ABILITY to DO things that they might not otherwise be able to do with traditional technology - LOVE THIS:)!  CHECK IT OUT.....

Have a great one,
Mrs. I:)

ClassCraft - Heard of it??

  Today, Mr. Schmitt, a science teacher here, asked about a web based program (with an app component) called ClassCraft.  I have NEVER heard of it.  So, he sent me the link and I have been doing a little "learning:)!"  The idea is that your entire class is a "ClassCraft" team where each student has a character in the game.  The students are also in a team of 3-5 that is trying to complete certain "tasks" through acting appropriately, getting homework done, volunteering, and behaviors that you WANT the students to do.  You as the admin can also take away points and values for UNWANTED behaviors such as not completely homework, acting out in class, and being disrespectful.  When they earn points they can purchase thing and power up their characters and teams.  When they do unwanted behaviors, the teacher can take away points which then demotes the characters and teams.  The whole idea is to encourage and motivate kiddos to do what they are supposed to do.  Now, I realize that it's a game, right?  But with ALL the gamification going on in EVERYTHING in our lives, and students REALLY diving into this, the concept is valid!  SO - we are going to purchase this which is ONLY $96 for the year, and have Mr. Schmitt and his 7th graders give it a go!  I think it's something worth looking at, and I will be SURE to keep you posted as he uses it to let you know what he and his students are thinking about it:)!!

Happy Thursday All,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Updated Lists

I JUST finished updating all our GRADE LEVEL app lists to the 2015-16 school year.  This will give you an idea of what WE use in Barnesville.  One thing that I STRONGLY encourage you to think about would be "Can I use this app cross curricular?"  I would recommend that MOST of the apps you have on student iPads to be the case - which it is NOT here!  We ONLY bought the 16GB iPads, so storage IS an issue for some grade levels.  Our 7th and 8th graders that are also in band and choir STRUGGLE all year for storage space as the apps they have for band/choir and science are BIG!!  SO, consider this when you are in that stage of looking for apps......the more cross curricular the better!   I will get the content area app lists uploaded today - but not quite done with them.  You know how it is when YOU have things to get done, BUT the other needs come first;)!

Happy Monday all,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Virtual Field Trips and More

  I have been looking for some virtual field trips and came across a few that would be worth checking out.  Not ALL of them work on the iPads, but there are some AMAZING ones here:)!

1.  National Museum of Natural History - Why not start with one of the most AMAZING museums that you can visit!  This site allows you to take a panoramic virtual tour around the Museum of Natural History and jump floors and explore what they have to offer - SO SO COOL!

2. National Parks by National Geographic - This is an app to download on your iPad but it shows 25 of the best parts in the United States.  It's FREE and SO worth the download:)!

3. Google Cultural Institute - Find various collections and exhibits from museums all over the world.  You can search topics or choose from those already showing. 

4.  Polar Husky - This site has amazing journeys taken across the Arctic.  It's free curriculum and has been since the site was created. 

These are just a FEW that I have happened to come across in the last week!  I will continue to post more if I find them and continue to carry on.........

Happy Monday and MEA week - YAHOO!  Three Days to work our tails off and then a few days to refresh our minds!
 Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Makey Makey - TRY ONE:)!!!

Our adaptive physical education teacher came to me yesterday asking about a Makey Makey!  She wondered if I have ever heard of it and I say YES YES:)!!! I gave one a few years ago to a neighbor boy who was interested in building things.  I asked him to bring it in for us to try!  Her plan was to use this device to act as a "switch" for a student to use with the Wii to bowl, bat, etc.. as the student is able to hit a button but not grasp a controller.  So, today, myself, Casey,  and three other students set out to get this bugger working.  It DOES NOT work with the Wii as the sensor control doesn't catch it - however - it DOES work perfectly with a computer! 

See below:

Basically, the Makey Makey is a control board that allows you to use the space bar or click on your computer by tapping an object you have alligator wired to the circuit.  In the picture above, for example, a student created a Pac Man joystick using the directions on the circuit.  He drew a directional pad on the piece of paper with pencil for a current flow, and he simply taps the piece of paper now to move Pac Man around on the screen instead of the arrow keys.  This is going to work BEAUTIFULLY with the student for OT, as she will be able to do things on the computer by tapping an apple, banana, or a piece of paper with a penciled in shape.  The kiddos "playing" with it in the library this morning LOVED it - you will, too:)!  And, at a price of only $50, it's affordable enough for trying out at least.  The possibilities are endless - check out the link above for more ideas!!

Happy Tuesday, all
Mrs. I:)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Do the iOS 9 update or NOT?

  I WISH I had a great answer for this - but I don't!!  Some kiddos have DONE the update and others have NOT as they don't have enough storage - which is OUR problem.  Each student only has a 16GB iPad, so with the iOS 9 taking up 1.2 of that, it doesn't leave much wiggle room for apps like Notion, GarageBand, Music Theory for Beginners, Cell and Cell Structure, and Frog Dissection.  Those are JUST a few.  AND if kiddos use Dropbox at all - that takes storage, too - UGH!!  That's not even counting other amazing apps for creation like iMovie and Explain Everything...... so for now what do you do - if they CAN do it - they ARE doing it as wanted.  Then, if I have trouble doing updates or adding additional apps for electives, I end up deleting the iOS 9 update - nothing else to do I guess.

With that being said, there are some REALLY neat features with iOS 9 - those being converting websites to PDF for kiddos without Internet and split screens - take a look to see if you missed some!

Happy Week all - now with Homecoming checked off - time to buckle down and be UBER productive:)

Take care -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh Apple - I KNEW it was coming!!

 I am going to TOTALLY copy and past what my Apple guy sent along - ugh:)!!

Hardware Highlights from Recent Announcement
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 inch screen with Keyboard Option and Apple Pencil -
All new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus -
Apple TV with new TVos open to developers -
iOS 9
* iOS 9 is a free upgrade and will ship on September 16th
* iOS 9 is supported on iPad 2 and greater.
* iOS 9 will take much less free space to install than previous iOS updates.

iOS 9 is full of new management capabilities that many of you have been asking for.  These include things like:
* Assign and deploy a VPP purchased app to a device (not a person) using your MDM server without the need for an Apple ID on the device.
* Deploying apps to a device while keeping the App Store restricted so the end user can’t see it or use it.
* Restrict users from being able to trust Enterprise Developer Profiles for 3rd party apps (think Vshare).

State Testing Update
MDE and Pearson announced support for the Full Size iPad for Minnesota State Testing. Roadshow dates with MDE, Apple and Pearson are coming soon! 

Now, none of this is a surprise to ANY of us, but they're KILLING us!!  The biggest one being that you can now MDE and Pearson test on the full size iPad - GREAT - NOT GREAT - as we JUST switched to iPad minis this past year - oh well.  One will NEVER really be caught up with ANY technology, as the MINUTE you walk out the door, they are putting something BIGGER and BETTER on the shelf you just left:)!

Happy Monday all
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hallelujah!!! We DID IT:)!!!

All I can say is THANK YOU Preston!!!  He was the Apple man that I was talking to the other day and mentioned a produce that Bretford makes - YAHOO!!!  This is what we ordered - it is called a PowerSync D20 and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT:)!!!

Not only does it work FLAWLESSLY, it takes up VERY little space and can handle all the "algorithms" that these cords have - I REALLY don't know what I'm talking about there, but I TOTALLY trust my 21 year old Apple Preston from Texas:)!!!  So for now - we are a GO!  I currently have 12th and 11th grade done and have to get 7-10 done by next Thursday - my day JUST got better because of this device!  SO NOT CHEAP as I think it was roughly $1100 but we are getting another one as you can chain them and get 40 done at a TIME! 

Now, if you have Casper you obviously don't need this as you don't use Apple Configurator, BUT if you DO use Apple Configurator - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS EVEN AFTER TWO HOURS OF USE:)!!

Happy Thursday All,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Here We Go.....NOT!!!!

OH BOY HERE WE GO!!  Oh wait, no we haven't - NOTHING HAS BEEN WORKING!!!  UGH - I thought is would be OH SO simple this fall - NOT SO!!!  The following is a list of VENTS from Mrs. I:

1. Apple Configurator is updating in September - GO FIGURE, RIGHT?  Now I get it, Apple, you have to market to the business world, as unfortunately, education isn't the biggest field for you - HOWEVER - I WISH they'd keep in mind that we DO start our school year then and EVERYTHING will change now - UGH - more to come on this topic.  For now we are doing things AS USUAL, and will deal with this beast when the update comes out.  In the meantime - I will get you some links  that our "Apple Guy" sent to become familiar with some of these changes - coming soon...

2. When I DID start hooking up the iPad minis to Apple Configurator - it WOULD NOT recognize them - NO!!!!!!!  So - I was able to do like 5-6 at a time - when you have 900+ to do - this is NOT an option so I sat with Apple today and talked to them for about an hour - GO FIGURE!  ALL WORKED!  Well, not really, as some still said they couldn't prepare as there was "firmware" that wasn't allowing - but once I manually put them into "restore" mode, they worked.

3. TAKING FOREVER!  I DO NOT remember them taking this long last year - again, NO!!!!  Oh well - I have ten days to get done with 7-12 and I have ONE grade done - PRAY FOR ME!!!!

With ALL that being said - it will be FINE - I know that, BUT frustrating as HECK!!!  OH WELL - PLUS it's a GAJILLION degrees in here - I know that's not a word - and quit complaining, right - DONE:)!!!

Here we go - OFF WITH A BANG, right - why would it ALL work - has to be SOME glitches!!
Take care all - and will continue posting - YOU KEEP PRAYING
Mrs. I:)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Excel Tricks

  I just wanted to share this quick before it gets put on the back burner:)!!  The high school choir teacher, Mrs. Gylland, found this and passed it along.  It seems SUPER helpful if you're NEW to Excel and haven't used it a TON:)

  Happy Monday to everyone!  I HOPE to post things like this randomly as they come up or as I find them - so will be in touch weekly I hope!  

Have a great one,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, May 29, 2015


IT"S OFFICIAL!  WE.  ARE.  DONE.  WITH.  iPAD 2s!!!  Cloud Blue game in and JUST pulled away from BHS with ALL our iPads - YAHOO:)!!  WHAT A RELIEF!  They will now bring them back and count all and figure out a grand total of what kind of money we will get for them - TBD!!
  However, didn't have a CLUE what to expect - so I had to take some pictures of what actually went on here. 

First we loaded ALL the iPads from Casey's office:

 Next, we loaded sets of iPads into a crate that held a cardboard box with dividers in it:

Finally, they totaled the boxes up and put them on pallets for loading onto a truck - DONE!!
I MUST say what a relief - and the CRAZY thing - I had a GRAND TOTAL of 963 iPads - they had a grand total of 967 iPads - AND we found 4 that were completely a loss from our iCare repair place - YAHOO - SPOT.  ON.  Like that will EVER happen again, right:)?

So, here we are onto the NEXT adventure with iPad Mini3s - we will see how this goes and how all function with a little bit smaller, but SO much lighter, faster, and manageable device - YAHOO!

Happy Summer Ya'll - I will continue to work on app lists and get ALL updated before FALL 2015 - for now have an AMAZING summer break - enjoy time with family and friend - TECH FREE!!
Take care and enjoy your time -
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The End is NEAR.........

    With only two weeks to go in the school year, there has been a LOT going on at BHS:)!!  iPad minis are ordered, and actually JUST found out TODAY that they will be in here in about 5 days - YAHOO!!  That means that I can totally use the kiddos IN SCHOOL to help code, case and arrange all 900 of them:)!  That makes me SO SO SO happy:)!!  I also found out that May 29 is the "official" pick up date for our existing iPads.  We are going to start collection next Thursday with K-3, Friday with 4-6, and the following week with 7-12 pending when they have finals, etc... YAHOO!  I will hook them ALL up to Apple Configurator and remove all iPads, which will give us back ALL redemption codes to use on the minis.  I am then going to restore all iPads back to factory settings so they are all set and ready for the company to resell.
   Teachers have also turned in their app requests for next year, or the apps that they no longer want on student iPads.  I have started compiling lists, so once they are done, I will update those listed on the blog.  I am SO glad to say that teachers are doing an amazing job eliminating MANY of those they feel they won't use and are turning to apps that are "multi" purpose and cross curricular - YAHOO:)!!  I turned in a purchase order for $3500, which will be enough to cover the costs of apps that teachers have asked for, in addition to the apps I have to purchase for offsets of grades. The GOOD/BAD thing is that our school has two classes that are FOUR sections, where typically we have THREE.  Every time they move a grade level, we have to buy about 20 more apps of every app for that grade.  Eventually we'll have enough, but I believe two more years have to work this way.  So this money will help to accommodate this. 
   That's it for now - just typical end of the year things; collecting iPads, chargers, bags, etc...
Good luck to you on your ending things-
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I came across this AMAZING article about education in Finland.  NOW, it has NOTHING to do with MOVE 21 and what we are doing her in Barnesville with iPads, BUT it is SO SO SO worth your TIME to read this one!  I am in TOTAL agreement with it, and as an educator who also spends countless hours of my own personal time on things for the classroom, it's enlightening to hear that MAYBE, just MAYBE this will be the United States someday:)!

More IS Less - remember that!
Happy Wednesday -
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trojan Turf - Online Newspaper

  I MUST SHARE:)!!  We are now in our THIRD week of publishing our school newspaper.  CHECK IT OUT!  It's called The Trojan Turf and it really is SO SO NEAT!!  Mrs. Gross, and English teacher here, has a Media/Journalism class that she teaches here.  Each kid in her class has a blog that they need to write on every other week, but they also have to write every other week for the paper.  Whether it's student life, sports, news, or meet the teacher, once the article is written, they have to turn it into one of the four editors.  They fix major mistakes, and send back to the write for one more revision.  Once completed, students send them to me, along with a picture, and a student then uploads them all to the SNO website that we have bought for publication.  It has REALLY been a great experience for the kiddos!  Next year it will be a year long course, pending enough students take it!  Every Monday the new publication comes out - pretty cool!

Happy Tuesday to ya'll
Mrs. I:)

Friday, April 10, 2015

One More iBook Created with iBook Author:)

  While observing Mrs. Nelson, a 6th teacher, I saw two really FUN things that she is doing with the kiddos -

1.  Kahoot - I am not sure if I have mentioned this site - but CHECK IT OUT!!  She was doing a review for science and gave them a quick informative assessment from the lesson the day before.  The kids were EXCITED, ENGAGED, and EAGER to see how they did.  It was SO great!  Kahoot is simply a website where you create a free account and you write little quizzes for kiddos to do.  They then log into the site with the quiz number and BAM - Ready. To. GO!

2.  The OTHER thing that she did that I had NO NO idea she had done, was create a digital textbook using iBooks Author - LOVED IT!  She makes an iBook for each chapter or related standards that she has to teach and then the kids use THIS instead of the bulky book where they only cover certain topics - GENIUS:)!  She can embed video, interactive links, photo galleries, etc.. into ONE place for kids to see and use - SO NEAT.  Below are a few screen shots....

  The BEST part about iBooks are that it allows kids to take notes, highlight, define words, etc.. in ONE place.   They don't have to jump around using different apps, etc.. to do this with. 

Well, Happy Friday to you all - get outside as it's supposed to be great this weekend - YAHOO:)
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What's Been Happening:)!!

  Sorry again for not posting in a while - seem SO busy - yet seem to get NOTHING accomplished - ever feel that way?:)  We have been meeting GALORE regarding next year and what exactly to do.  As of now here is what we're looking into:

1. Sell the iPads that we currently have to a MN company and then buy iPad Airs again through Apple directly
2. Get iPad Minis for our K-2 or K-3, since this will save us so money to offset the cost of buying new through Apple
3. Possibly get 32MG iPads for 10-12 as they tend to need a little more storage; especially with band and choir students
4. Keep Macbook Pros that we currently HAVE as teachers really want them to stay:)

NOW - with all that being said is that what we will FOR SURE DO - WHO KNOWS???:-)  But that is what we are recommending to the Finance Committee tonight so I will update tomorrow on what was actually decided or what is going to go to the board again for final approval.

We STILL plan on using Apple Configurator to deploy iPads and apps as it has been working for us now and we know how to do all the pieces of it.  If we HAVE to go to a "wireless" MDM, we will cross that path once we get there.  However, knowing HOW to configure apps and iPads was a HUGE learning curve for us, so we aren't going to change that now!

As things evolve, I will continue to update you of progress, but right now that was the latest that was talked about;)!

Happy Wednesday,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Google Chrome Extension - WOW:)!!

  If you are a Google Apps for Education district and use Google Docs a TON - you MUST check out Read&Write for Google - A  M  A  Z  I  N  G!!!  In a nutshell - you can take ANY Google doc, presentation, form, PDF, etc. and have the option to have it read to you, highlight, annotate, find definitions for - etc.. UNREAL! It really it SO SO cool and I can think of about a GAZILLION ways that this would be a valuable tool for students in any classroom.  It is simply an add-on extension that you download in the Chrome web browser and use with Google Docs, or actually ANY website as well.  I took this graphic from the SpeechTechie blog - if you want to check out his article in entirety!

  This is something that I am TOTALLY going to start spreading the word about.  It's FREE for educators, and a cost for students - I am checking into it as we have many students that would benefit from this greatly!!  A single license for a year is $100, but if you buy in bulk - it's like $10 per student with a minimum requirement of course - info here:)!

CHECK THIS ONE OUT FOR SURE - it TOTALLY blew me away - not going to lie:)
Happy Tuesday,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Dilemma Continues......

   We have been in the process of trying to figure out exactly "WHAT" to do for next year.  We KNOW that are getting iPads for sure, that question has been answered.  The problem lies in how to trade in, swap out, buy new, etc... Here are our options:

1. Sell our iPads to Company A, and they will come and package everything up.  They grade each iPad on an A, B, C level - and give us the money after they evaluate them.  We can then buy NEW iPad Airs from Apple with a one year warranty; just like before.

2. Sell our iPads to Company A, and they will come and package everything up, and then trade in for iPad Airs that are ONE YEAR OLD.  They have been used with another "company," for a year, not in student hands.  THEN the best part - they will give us a four year warranty.  If something goes bad, we send the iPads to THEM and they take care of it!

I REALLY like option 2 because of the extended warranty, but I don't like the idea of buying one year old iPads - not sure on this one?  Lots to continue to discuss and think about - but ultimately the school board will make the decision.  Either way, we are saving WAY MORE money than the initial $55 that a company that Apple gave us offered!

Happy Friday - Heading to Bemidji for the Girls Basketball Section Championship game today CAN  NOT  WAIT - GO TROJANS:)!!
Mrs. I:)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Starfall Website......

  I am not sure if I have shared this website with you, but our Kindergarteners are ROCKING IT OUT!  The site is Starfall and it has SO much great content on here.  Below is a list of content for the little ones:

   The kiddos today were working on the Learn to Read section.  They had to listen to words, add beginning and ending sounds, and read stories and click and find things as they went.  They were TOTALLY engaged!  They even had a checklist to do once sections were completed to track their progress.

   A SUPER fun one for the kiddos is preK-1st grade I would say FOR SURE:)! Bad news - NO iPad as it's flash based:(  - but still PLEASE CHECK IT OUT
Happy Monday and night,
Mrs. I:)

Decision is MADE:)!!

   Casey and I went to the school board meeting this past Monday and gave the recommendation from the technology committee.  After months and months of researching, compiling data, and talking to other schools, we are going to stay with iPads for our next go around!  We will be ordering the iPad Air this spring for ALL students again in grades K-12.  The technology committee, Casey and myself have gone round and round.  As you know, we have Surface RTs in Mr. Askegaard's business lab and he really likes them.

There were a couple of things that we DID NOT like:
1. Their tech support is NOTHING compared to what Apple has in place.  Obviously this will continue to improve, we just aren't willing to buy 300+ of them and then struggle with people helping us.
2.  There isn't a great case for it, and the ones were found started making the device not even affordable for our district
3. The keyboard that goes with it is fine for personal use, but when you think about students carrying it around and using it in multiple settings, other than a flat table, we didn't feel it would hold up
4. Networking was a HUGE issue as you have to pay a fee per student to be able to put them on our network - again, another cost that goes with them

End Result = NO SURFACE!!

However, we also DID go and order a few Thinkpads and had a few students use them over Christmas break.  One student really liked it, another one didn't because there was no touch screen.  As we thought more and more about these, we thought of our teachers and all the time they have spent in Schoology uploading files and documents to be used with writing on the iPads - they WILL NOT work on the Thinkpad, so that was a concern for us as well.  Also, viruses and networking seemed a nightmare for Casey.  The weight was heavier than the iPad, and breakage was a concer.

End Result = NO THINKPAD!

So, here we are with the iPads again.  I talked with a few districts about what THEY are going to be doing, and with the new operating system coming out this summer for the iPad, one that WILL NOT work on the iPad 2s, some are going to pray hard that they DO last another year, others, like us, are going to buy new and avoid the issue altogether!

Wherever you're at - GOOD LUCK!  It was NOT an easy process for us, but one that makes TOTAL sense! The teacher will have NO learning curve, EVERYONE will have them, and ALL will work!

Happy Monday and Major Decision Making,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, February 27, 2015

THINK Before You........

  I have seen MANY versions of this online and finally decided to make my own:)!!

    It has been CRAZY how many kiddos have commented on this wondering if "something" happened and that's the reason that I posted these around the school.  I said, "Nope, I just wanted to have this be a gentle reminder for everyone."  The kids said they should ALWAYS be up as a "gentle" reminder!  That's really it, isn't it?  MOST kids are very careful and conscious of what they are posting or tweeting, but for EVERYONE, we all need reminders of how this can hurt and harm others!!  I love our kiddos!!

Happy weekend all,
Mrs. I:)

Some websites to check out:)

  I have been trying to put together a compiled list for another district of websites that WE use a lot here.  Alone the way, I have come across some neat gems!

1. Free Rice: This website has various content to practice.  As students answer questions correcting, rice is collected and donated to help end world hunger - HOW COOL:)!!!

2. CNN Students: CNN broadcasts this 10-minutes daily newscast for middle/high school students.  What an EASY way to talk about current events and even add writing to your curriculum - GREAT:)!

3.  Grammar Bytes!:  A website to just practice grammar skills. 

4. Google Earth: Not sure if you or your students have played with this one, but it will quickly become a FAVORITES:)! 

5. Smithsonian Education: Sizing Up the Universe is SUPER COOL!  The students are given information about the earth, sun, planets, etc.. and they input an address (I did mine:)  and it gives them a "comparative" illustration using their address and the orbit of things around them - LOVE IT:)!

6. Worldometers: I don't know if I have blogged this one but is amazes me EVERY TIME!  It's real time numbers of what's going on in the world - CRAZY COOL!

Alright - I could REALLY go on F  O  R  E  V  E  R, but I will stop at 6 for today!

Still FREEZING FREEZING cold here - -7 this morning UGH!  Running the halls at school is KILLING me - warm up to at LEAST 10, right:)!

Here's to a possibly "WARM" weekend - Have a great one,
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Front Row Website/App in Mrs. Meyer's 2nd Grade Class

  Mrs. Meyer, a second grade teacher here, has been using a website in her classroom called FrontRow.  This is a site that allows for differentiation in math class.  Now, we have used MANY others like Study Island, Accelerated Math, and Khan Academy, but this has been that one that she likes best.  Student start off by taking a diagnostic test on a particular skill, and then the website/app creates a path for the kids to follow based on how he/she did.  It meets the really low, the middle, and the really high.  There is a companion app called Common Core Math for Teachers by Front Row that we have put on her students' iPads!  She has found it to be very easy for the kids to use, it's been easy for her to differentiate without a TON of work, and the kids love it - what a great combination.  OH YEA - it's FREE:)!!!  Here is what the app looks like in case you're trying to find it:)
 Happy Wednesday,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, January 30, 2015

One More Explain Everything Idea!

  I was in Mrs. Tonsfeldt's 3rd Grade classroom today helping her kiddos show their Explain Everything presentations.  They were SO SO great and did such a fantastic job!  They had to come up with a famous person or idea and write a timeline.  Each date had to represent something in his/her life and they created a presentation showing this.  Not only did it help them understand timelines, they had to record their voices into their presentation, include a graphic, and pick their favorite thing learned!

Here is an example:

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS:)!  So great and the kids were AMAZING at it!  Their little minds surprise me more and more each day and their knowledge of technology is superb!!

Happy Weekend all,
Mrs. I:)

iPad Stories - Gotta Love Kiddos!:)

  A 9th grader came in yesterday and showed me this:

You'll notice that the screen is TOTALLY shattered, the bottom is bent bad, and the home button is missing - GOOD GRIEF - what happened, right?

When I asked him what happened, he said that he dropped it out of his bag getting off the bus.  I questioned him, "I don't think this is what happened, as this kind of breakage is pretty bad."  Casey, our tech guy, was also in here and he blurts out, "Are you sure after you dropped it that the bus didn't run it OVER?"  He said, "Well, maybe I dropped it off my bed stand also."  Which CLEARLY is NOT the case.  Just TELL ME THE TRUTH!!  We were DYING laughing;)!  

On another note, a girl came in this morning and said that she does her homework on her iPad while she takes a bath.  However, last night she put her iPad on a stand next to the tub, and while she was getting out, she knocked it off INTO the bath water - end of iPad!  OH, at least she was honest:)!!

Happy Friday,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kid President and Martin Luther King, Jr

  If you haven't seen any of the videos that Kid President (Robby Novak) has created you MUST!!!  His humor, loving smile and inspiring personality really hit home to kids and adults alike.  He came up with one that is SO appropriate for today, since it's Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday!  ENJOY:)!!

Happy Monday,
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

iMovie and Wordle Book Reviews

  For Mrs. Gross's Independent Reading class, the students have to read three novels during the quarter and do a book review of each one.  In addition, she also has them create a "project" based on the book that they just read.  One of her students did a book review on the book Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - check out his iMovie trailer that he created - DIED LAUGHING - SO GREAT:)!!

Some other students chose to go to the Wordle site.  They had to create a word cloud and explain WHY they chose the words they did in their "cloud."  The more important words had to be larger than the others, and the students had to explain WHY that was the case.  Here are some examples:

This one is for the novel White Fang by Jack London:

This one is created after the novel 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult:
Two more great ideas to use with ANY novel.  This class is taught to senior high students, but these projects could be incorporated into just about ANY grade level!

Happy Wednesday 'all,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

TIES 2014 - Day 2

Let's just say that day 2 was JUST as amazing as day 1!  I forgot to mention a quote that Mark Garrison shared in his session and I BELIEVE IT SO SO MUCH!!

Whatever is it you do, know you can do better! - Rushton Hurley

 Isn't that the truth! Now, we have AMAZING peeps here in Barnesville, but things can ALWAYS be done better and we are learning that each and every day - we ALL are!
Session 1:  Reading Comprehension: Digging Deeper Using Digital Devices - Sara Speicher and Julie Walthour gave AMAZING ideas on websites and apps that help with reading comprehension!  Here are the things they talked about.  Many we have used, some were new - all great!

*Thinglink – link hot spots to pictures – use with vocabulary – kids can create a channel and you can click through it
*Newslea – read the article one time at the lowest level – take quiz – move up to the next Lexile level and read again – continue moving up to improve vocabulary
*Readworks – has both informational text and literal text – K-12 site that is more of a resource that allows PDF files – can differentiate with Lexile and content
*The New York Times interactive stories – works on iPads
*Padlet – interactive storyboard
*subtext app (free)– annotate text and collaborate reading – you can upload your context – public domain books free, leveled articles with quiz
*Wonderopolis – it’s about wondering – there’s a daily wonder and a video – can listen to story with audio – can search topics and a new one comes daily
*Smithsonian Tween Tribune – can go with lexile  - comment and blog on here – shorter articles for class starters
*Think CERCA– audible text that kids can also just read – can set up account with kiddos – you can then assign articles to classes and have kiddos sign in with class code – leveled by grade levels
*Haiku Deck – create presentations with one image and few words – share a book, do with a vocabulary word to show meaning, etc…
*DogoNews – google app
*Rewordify - changes the wording of texts to make it easier to understand!

They were SO engaging and SO SO funny - loved this session!  Be sure to check out these sites - ALL free and ALL easy to use - and ALL work on iPads:)!

Session 2 - Professional Development: Become a Digital Educator.  This session focused on the importance of creating and using online presences and social media.  I can't remember the presenters, but one was a gal that is a media specialist in a Cities school and the other a gentleman that is a tech integrationist.  They talked a lot about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, MediaScapes, Flexible Spaces, tweet decks and an app called Pocket.

Session 3 - Creative Vision with Focus and Clarity: Ryan Box, Becker Schools.
This guy is terrific!  He does SO many things for the districts he works for and his ideas are just outstanding - so I always try and listen to him in a session or two as well.  Becker Schools is also using Clarity by BrightBytes to survey their teachers, parents, and students on technology.  He basically went over what Becker is doing, what to think about when you do this, and how to use the data to help drive questions you needed answered.  I totally agreed with him when he talked about how decisions get made in our schools - EVERYTHING is like, "We HAVE to get this done THIS YEAR."  What's wrong with waiting?  What's wrong with having decisions made over a course of a few years - knowing that you are making the RIGHT decision because you have taken TIME to make them?  Great things to think about........


Thursday, January 8, 2015

TIES 2014 - Day 1:)

  I am SO SO SORRY that I am FINALLY getting to this so late!  However - the things I have to share are SO worth waiting for - even after a month:)!!

Session 1 - The Breakfast Club: Darin Swenson and Luke Stordahl led 10 sessions that they called "The Breakfast Club."  They covered various topics throughout the summer to help teachers with their 1:1 initiative.  They met for two hours I believe, and challenged their teachers to come and learn as much as the could.  Donuts were a BIG HIT as we ALL know food helps:), and they included a 7th challenge with a book called Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  I have hear NOTHING but great things about this book and they say it will "transform the way you teach."  I heard other speakers at TIES talk about it, so it's definitely one I"m checking out;).  These were some suggestions – find the right number of sessions for you, get input from staff, have free play day and let them try new things (Ed Camp format), provide incentives (CEUs, food and fun)

Session 2 - Curriculum Mapping and the 21st Century: The biggest point to me was
*Where does the information go once you’ve done the mapping?  It lives somewhere and will be immediately out of date – great information – but needs to be a continuum!  However – it’s something they HAVE to do vs. something they WANT to do and continue to do without being told to do so!
*Need for technology to support this process that is also job embedded 

Session 3 - Teaching, Learning, and Creating with the iPad - Kathy Schrock: SO SO SO GOOD:)!!  She was GREAT.  If you have NEVER been to her site or heard her talk  - DO IT!!!  Her site is Kathy Schrock's iPads4teaching and Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything are the two that I use the most - embedded within each other - but direct links sometimes are easier.  She gave a TON of ideas - see below:

*Back channeling – 81 Dash, Padlet, Today’s Meet
*Adobe Voice – app for iPad and intended to give voice for students to think about ways to make a difference (free) = intended for persuasion
*Plot Synopsis – give them 60 seconds to plot this – and then they video it – ie Forrest Gump video
*Stop Motion Animation – hardest part is keeping camera still – screen shot from video once all gone – brought into editor and then copied picture – brought into PPT and did motion paths…
*Course trailers – introduce to next year teachers or courses
*Book Trailers – use to summarize books, revise videos for new audience of from new character perspective
*iMovie – trailers, mashups (Mary Poppins example – parody)
*Print YouTube Videos – once uploaded – once video starts playing hit booklet – which will give you a storyboard and then allow you to print PDF
*ShowMe!  and Educreations!! = favorite is Exaplain Everything!
*Screen Chomp – screen casting tool
*Animation Desk – light – includes features of animation program and easy to shift slides along – can onion skin easily = can print as a PDF
*Haiku Deck – not many words to show this
*Sock Puppets – free and have puppets that you can talk with ($3.99 with all included and have access to ALL in app purchases)
*Pixntell – allows students to bring in images, easily explain them and then talk about each image – turns it into a movie that can be saved to the camera roll
*30 Hands – create storyboards and make into movie
*AudioBoom – former Audio Boo – create podcast up to 3 minutes
*Shadow Puppet EDU – allows to search common images in library and then put all together to create a movie = records behind each image
*Infographics – iVisual Info Touch Lite – allows to create infographics on iPads
*Tumblr – newspaper article or story
*Blogger on iPad
*Weebly – webpage created that’s free but works on iPad now

If you want help or clarification on ANY of these - just email me and let me know:)

Session 4 - Infographics: Kathy Schrock again:) Another AMAZING tool if you haven't used them yet!  Infographics are just graphics that give information and they are SO powerful.  Links like Chart PormPiktochart and Ifo.Gram. 
Take a look at the above sites - they are pretty cool!  Mrs. Gross, our English teacher here, had her kids make Infographics for review of commonly misused words - they are GREAT:)  LOOK:

Here are the steps that Kathy Schrock uses when creating them.  Mrs. Gross, and myself, would say that the students TOOK OFF with these and did amazing:)!!

Steps to Create:
1.     Some idea of how data can be visualized – periodic table of data visualizations
2.     Chart Chooser – allows students to go online and fine ones they want in Excel format  - then figure out which way to best represent data
3.     Many Eyes – upload data set and then choose visualization and the download to use
4.     Key words, write essential questions, find research, evaluate what they find, gather assets and cite them
5.     Hand draw the infographic so you know direction taking
6.     Creative Commons – not fully copyrighted, allows for creation with image but have to cite, commercially or noncommercially, can edit it or share and allows other to edit yours also = creative common sites – in Google images – click on search tools – see what it has for use of image (students already have permission to use these!)
7.     Graphic Designs – light yellow on Blue is the BEST to use, red stimulates emotion, green makes you feel involved, gray is lack of commitment, blue indicates calming message, Yellow is cheerful, purple is “fantasy” or child like, brown background is passive information, black background indicates power
8.     Fonts – match mood with fonts – vary the color and size of fonts
9.     Repeated Elements – one shape put together in various ways can make meaning different
10.  Layout – should be like a news story – catchy at top - secondary details next, then tertiary details  = Main Idea, Secondary Points, Supporting Details LATCH model – Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, Hierarchy 

Session 5: Date Driven Technology Promotes Student Learning: Mark Garrison and Lisa deRoy 
*We are in our first year of using the Clarity technology survey by BrightBytes at our school district, so this was a GREAT one for me:)!!   Mark Garrison is my FAVORITE:)!!  He is a technology coordinator and integrationist in White Bear Lake and Lisa deRoy works for BrightBytes so their knowledge was PERFECT for what I was looking for.  We survey students, teachers and parents to find out all kinds of things like what does the 4Cs look like in your classroom, how well do students know technology, what is our access like, what kinds of things can teachers, parents and students do and what do they know?  ALL of these answers will help to guide us in our next steps in regards to our Phase II of technology implementation and the things that we need more PD on.  A GREAT resource for districts wanting information to help guide technology decisions - check it out:)!

That was it for Day 1 for me - and my mind was DONE!!!  Good thing we ate at the Melting Pot to unwind and enjoy one another's company!  I will get Day 2 out tomorrow!  

It's snowing and going to start blowing here later today - hoping my son's game doesn't get cancelled tonight - Go Trojans!!
Happy Thursday,
Mrs. I:)