Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FUN Websites Worth Looking At:)!

The past week, I have been web searching, and attended a workshop that was beneficial as well.  The following websites were ones either shared with me, or ones that I came across that would be worth investigating further:)!!!

1. Dotstorming - This website is VERY similar to Padlet, BUT the kids can take a poll on which choice that they like the best.  It becomes a voting opportunity with all the great things about Padlet:)!!

2. Pear Deck - This website allows your kids to connect to a presentation online and ALL be on the same page together:) 

3. Ricoh 360 Degree Camera - CHECK THIS OUT:)!!  WOW!  I was SO SO impressed with this guy.  If you have ever used or played with Google Street View, then you are in for a treat!  This camera takes a 360 picture and threads it together QUICKLY and ACCURATELY!  No longer do you have to piece together 45 pictures frame by frame - LOVE IT:)!!!

4. Hip Hughes History - WOW!  Keith Hughes has put together a PLETHORA of videos in any area of history you can imagine.  If you are in the field of flipping your social studies classroom - CHECK HERE before you spend hours and hours podcasting:)!!

5. #BookSnaps - A cute way to use the "Snapchat" idea and turn them into Book Snaps - NEAT:)

6. Adobe Spark - This is a great way to create quick and fast visual and digital web stories in minutes - another great new option for kids to create with:)!!

7. NearPod - I know that I have mentioned this before but this is a great site to collaborate with:)!!  Kids can all see what you see and learn together and collaboratively seeing the same things on their devices:)

That's what I have for today - HAVE A GREAT TUESDAY:)!
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SMART Amp - something new learned again:)!!!

I know there are MANY ways to project and use a white board - we have SMART Boards here in Barnesville, and have for the past 12 years or so if I had to guess! We LOVE them - and have created a TON of material to go with them.  The day that SMART Boards were removed from our teachers is the day I RETIRE - seriously - they are used THAT much and so much have been created over the years which is great!  A few things have changed, and many things are better - and that is SMART Amp!!!  If you have SMART Boards - CHECK IT OUT!!!  It's free if you have Notebook (I believe), and it allows you to share with the kids so they can either follow along with you, or interact with you:)!!!  YUP THAT IS CORRECT - FINALLY!!  There are a variety of ways that you can share things, and you can share many things.  You basically create a class, add the kids either via email, or give them a code, and then you can create "workspaces" for kids to follow along with or interact with - it's THAT simple!  The BEST PART - you can see what students add to the workspace as it's instant and live.  SO COOL!!!  You can use SMART Exchange to download already created Workspaces - if you look on the left hand side and filter them. 

Here are a few basic screen shots to get an idea of how it works

Here is the screen that a kiddo has on his/her iPad.  They simply go to the SMART Amp website and join class with the code - it will automatically share screen as teacher assigned.
Now this is ALL NEW to me - I have  been playing with it for about an hour is all - but I have learned a TON in that time - so it's quite easy and user friendly - GOOD LUCK!!

Have a great day all,
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Math Teachers - CHECK IT OUT:)!

Mrs. Petersen, one of our math teachers here, asked me if I knew of anything that would allow her to create exit tickets for math.  She was having a hard time looking for something that would her to type math equations the "correct" way.  I was really NO help, as I can't even THINK of a math equation that I would want to type other than your basic  a + 7 = 23b, which CLEARLY is not the only thing she is going to want to do (sorry for my LACK OF MATH knowledge here).  She DID find something that she feels is going to work well.

QuestBase - you have to create an account, but she said that so far she is able to type the equations she was thinking about, AND using the proper math writing (am I EVEN saying this correctly:) of how they should be written.  It's free for what she is needing, but will look a little more into the premium as it only costs $149.95/year - check this one out.

SO while I was looking online for this I came across some other websites that might be worth checking out if you teach math:)

1. MyMathSpace Blog - There is a plethora of information here with websites, links and additional blogs to help!

2. Online Keyboard:  This site allows you to create online equations of about EVERYTHING possible and then you can copy and past them into document

3. Math = Love: Looks like another neat blog with ideas galore.

4. Great Maths Teaching Ideas: This sites lists the top math blogs out there. 

That's all I have for today - Happy Mathing around;)
Enjoy your Tuesday all
Mrs I:)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Technology Share Day

Last Friday was CPT (Common Planning Time) for us, which means a two-hour late start.  The time is then spent on learning new things, collaboration, or whatever deems fitting for the time of year as seen as a need.  Last month's CPT we had a speaker for part of the time, which turned into the whole time - but he was WONDERFUL so needed indeed.  The second part of last's month CPT was supposed to be spent on tech sharing, but since we didn't get a chance to, we did it THIS month.  The following things were shared during this time:

1.  Mr. Schmitt, one of the Science teachers here, shared THIS PDF that he learned about and discovered at TIES.  I DO NOT remember the session, so my apologies as Mr. Schmitt didn't make this, but I thought it was worthy of sharing.  It was found on Learning in Hand  it's a pretty cool infographic.  The author on the website also gave it a Creative Commons license, so feel free to share it and photocopy it or print and post it - THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR THIS:)!!

2.  Mrs. Gross, an English teacher here, shared online blogging and the importance of writing digitally.  Her 9th grade students and media/journalism students all keep a blog.  What they write about is up to them, as they choose a topic and name the blog at the beginning of the year and continue writing on that topic as the year goes on.  She has them use Google + for their blog, since they all have Google accounts and access to it, and that way it is somewhat "controlled and safer."

3. Mr. Meyer, a health/physical education teacher shared how to use videos to support curriculum in your classroom.  He went to Andi Bodeau's session on YouTube.  She shared this link as her presentation.  She talked about challenges in using videos as there is so much content out there - here were her basic suggestions:

Challenge #1 - Curate Content
*Subscribe to 10 channels that you can use in your classroom
*Create a list and add 5 videos to the list

Challenge #2 - Create Content
*Find a video and make it interactive
*Add 3 questions to the video

PlayPosIt is GREAT!  You can take ANY YouTube video that you like - pause it, embed questions, comments, etc.. for students to learn as they go and then continue the video.  It really is a great one if you haven't checked it out yet, do so:)

Happy Tuesday all - hard to believe April 1 is ALMOST HERE - UGH! 
Where does time go - have a great one -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, March 6, 2017

More Viruses Out There - BACK UP YOUR STUFF:)!!!!

Casey, our technology coordinator for our district, sent out the following message this morning:

"Just wanted to give everybody a heads up on a new virus that's making its rounds. It's called Trumps Locker and it wants to encrypt the files on our PCs and charge a fee to get a key to unlock them.

These threats are only going to get worse. PLEASE - keep making wise choices on emails that come into your account. Store valuable files on external hard drives. Use Google Drive for files. Every teacher has a FREE unlimited storage amount tied to their email account. I will try and do staff training on this option. No matter how much protection we have in place, one bad virus can wipe things out. The more I've researched and talked to others the scarier these threats have become. MANY MANY schools have been hit by a ransom type virus. It's going to keep getting worse so we all need to work together. Never hesitate to call Cary, Holly or I if you have a question or something just doesn't seem right."

Just a HUGE REMINDER - BACK UP YOUR FILES!!  Whether it's through Google Drive, DropBox or an external hard drive - DO IT PLEASE!!!!

That is all,
Mrs. I:)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ransom Virus Hits HARD!!!!

YUP - it's TRUE!  The ransom virus hit our school and BOY did it hit hard! If you are unfamiliar, this virus has been around a while, and our network people said that they get 2-3 calls a week about this, so it's nothing new.  However it has KNOCKED! US! OUT!  Basically, it's just like a ransom.  The virus attacks your computer, there's a screen that appears saying they won't give you back your data unless you pay a ransom - OH!  We think it was attached to an email from a staff member, but aren't certain, and from there has caused us a HUGE headache, countless hours of panic, and panic again as it has reappeared trying to ping our system - OH NO!!

Here is what has happened thus far:

1.  The virus hit our main server and two of our three back up servers.  In a nutshell - THANK YOU GOOD LORD that Casey decided to have three backups.  However, we now will have four!! 

2. EVERYTHING had to be restored from back up - our ENTIRE NETWORK!  The server, staff and student drives, access codes, printers, Macbooks, Dell Computers, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING has had to be reconfigured.  Those that HAD the virus - about half of our staff - also had to have their computers entirely wipes and reconfigured.  THIS HAS BEEN A NIGHT MARE!  Casey, who is our "behind the scenes" guy, describes it as, "Think of the worst thing to EVERY happen to a school district in terms of viruses, and that's how I feel!"  He has taken the brunt of it until today!:( I have been on tech support the last three days with our JSS system that runs our iPads and found out today that ALL 900+ iPads have to be restored to factory setting and then reenrolled into our JSS!  Which ONLY means that I have to hook up and restore each one - ONE BY ONE!  GOOD GRIEF

3. We had EVERYTHING restored and things were running good not great - HOWEVER - now the network IS NOT running right.  Our network people had to hire Microsoft for help - so AS WE SPEAK they are working on things again - and the virus KEEPS showing up.  The password has been changed, so it's only pinging it and not getting in - but OH - what if it does again?

4.  Things just ARE NOT quite right, and not working SUPER GREAT by any means.  Some printers work fine for people, and others times won't print - I KNOW that that's technology - but it's just a lot of weird things that works for some and not others? 

5.  SOME teachers didn't back up EVER!  Now, that doesn't mean they weren't told to - it just means they DIDN'T DO IT!  You should have SEEN the desktops of a few of them!  Every time I was on his/her computer I told them to put things into Dropbox or Google Drive - BUT they didn't and of course - THOSE were the computers that got infected:(!!!  SO - lesson learned I hope!  However - GOOD NEWS!  Almost ALL DID back stuff up and lost very few if any files - THANK HEAVENS!

 SO that's our last week and a half in a nutshell. BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE - BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP! AND make sure YOU TELL YOUR STAFF TO BACK UP!!! 

Happy long weekend all - Monday is NEEDED:)!!
Mrs. I:)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

CodeHS - Great Site for High School Students

We have been looking for something in regards to coding for our senior high school students.  They have been having fun playing with the Sphero and the Dash and Dot, but they are a little old for this so to say.  Through my research, I came across a site called CodeHS.  THIS IS AMAZING:)!!!  Once you sign up, you are taken through a series of courses where you actually code.  You type in the commands and functions, trying to walk Karel, the dog, through various tasks.  Each section features a video explaining what you'll learn, a quiz to review, and then you step in and use what you learned to code Karel. 

This seems like a really good fit for some of our kids.  We have two that are going into Computer Science, and this seems like a perfect stepping stone as it introduces HTML, Javascript and Python as they are also areas they will learn:).

AND the best part - it's DONE FOR YOU and IT'S FREE!! Of COURSE you can pay for more, but it really seems to give the basics and be a good chance for students to "start" the process of learning.

Good Luck - Stay Warm - STORMING HERE TODAY - UGH!!  BUT, supposed to be warm on Thursday - YAHOO:)!

Happy Tuesday All,
Mrs I:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sphero 2.0 - order one;)!

I am TOTALLY a band wagoner:)!! (is that a word?)  I love ANYTHING new that I learn about and TOTALLY jump on board and tell everyone to get it.  SAME HERE!  I learned about the Sphero 2.0 a few years ago and kind of put it on the back burner - which happens A LOT with technology as there are ALWAYS things coming out and about, the latest and greatest!  I wrote a grant for $500 (starting small), to order one and it CAME IN:)!!
Today I am subbing, so I had some kiddos go into the app and start playing with it - OH MY FUN:)!! They were able to calibrate it, run it, and start to make ramps for it to "turbo" power and change the trajectory, velocity, and speed to make it move faster and jump further - neato:)!  I also found a ton of ideas and ordered these little cones for racing, weaving through, and block coding to see if you are correct.  Sphero bowling was also found, as well as other physics type activities - can't wait to try with the kiddos.

I know that it's $129, but that really won't break the bank, so to say, and your kiddo will have a lot of fun using this bugger:)  ENJOY

Happy February 1st
Mrs. I:) 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Perspective and Uses of iPads in Mrs. Willer's Kindergarten Classroom;)

Mrs. Willers, one of our Kindergarten teachers, gave this perspective to a school that came her last week for a visit:)

iPad App: Seesaw 
This is the first year that we have been using Seesaw, and I absolutely love it! It can be challenging to find great technology that is user friendly for primary grades, but Seesaw has really changed that for us! There are so many ways to implement this into your classroom, and I love the connection it builds between home and school. The app is easy to use for our students, and easy to manage as a teacher- simply watch then approve any students’ completed project or journal, and instantly it is sent to the family and archived. This app is also helping me go paperless for Daily 5- I can provide my students with hands-on activities and Seesaw keeps them accountable for staying on task and doing their best with each activity. 

Student samples using Seesaw with D5 and writing: 

Other favorite apps for K: 
Reading Raven 1 & 2
Reading Island Adventure
Magnetic ABC’s- use for a variety of classroom activities vs. white boards or paper
Animal Math
Phonics (Backyard Adventures)
Short Vowels

iPads and SMART
If you are currently using SMART notebook, there is a new update that allows for iPads to replace the older PRS (Personal Response) clickers. Teachers can create activities and quizzes in SMART notebook that students can access from their iPads. Each student can log-in, take the quiz, and results are sent to the teacher. 

Thoughts and Opinions on iPad use in K: 
I appreciate being 1-1 with students and devices for the ease of doing whole-group activities. I have found that teaching new apps, beginning projects for the 1st time, and doing assessments such as STAR are best whole-group. Many of the apps we have found are self-paced and student progress is recorded, but only 1 “player” or “account” is allowed. If were were sharing devices, you may have a higher student unlocking or passing higher levels, and the lower student playing those levels even when they haven’t mastered the beginning skills of that game. If you decide to go 1-1 with devices, please also be aware of how much iPad time is developmentally appropriate for primary students. Although we do use our devices daily, we do it in small increments, and likely for only 30-45 total minutes a day. 
Another consideration for financial cost is the continuous expense of iPad apps. Each year between the system updates and free apps becoming paid apps, our list of working, paid apps changes. Each year we lose apps that we have loved, and finding replacements that are free are rare. I also feel like website subscriptions such as IXL or Starfall are replacing our app requests. There are more and more great websites out there that track student progress and are customizable, and may be more reliable long term than apps. 

I hope this is helpful - Happy Tuesday all
Mrs I:)

Monday, January 16, 2017

One 1st Grade Teacher's Use of iPad Apps:)

I know that Mrs. Olson, one of our 1st grade teachers wouldn't mind me sharing this.  We recently had a school come and visit us about iPads in the K-2 classroom and this is what she had to say about apps in 1st Grade:

Here are some of the iPad apps that we use a lot: 

Seesaw: This is a great sharing app to allow parents to see some of the work the kids do each day. The parents can also comment on things so the kids can see it!

Rocket Speller: Great for spelling practice.  This one can be set to different levels to differentiate for your class. 

Sushi Monster: Great game for math facts.

Flash to Pass: Great for math facts. You can set a time limit and a difficulty level. 

Sail Through Math: Math facts

HyperBlast: Very video game-like- the kids love that part. Great for math facts.

Math Bingo: Fun math facts bingo game

Story Buddy: This one is fun for individual practice for anything! I use it for spelling practice, writing sentences, retelling stories... Pretty much anything!

Spelling City- You can upload your own spelling list and the kids can play games to practice their words!

Explain Everything: This app is great for almost anything as well! I use it with my kids to do a book report, practice spelling sentences, practice math facts... The thing the kids and I love about this app is that their project can be made into a movie when they are done then we can share them on the smart board via the Apple TV! They love to watch everyones movies!

Kids A-Z- make a class list and your kids can listen to leveled readers that are just right for them!

iBooks- I use iBooks for our listen to reading centers. I made several iBooks with all my books on CD and imported them via Dropbox to all the kids iPads.  

Happy Weekend all.  -42 temp YIKES - stay warm everyone!!!
Mrs .I:)