Thursday, July 26, 2012

Document camera on your wishlist?? I've got the magic answer to your dreams!

Have you secretly dreamed of having your own "Elmo" or other "Doc Cam" in your classroom?  Let me guess.. you've seen the multi-hundred dollar price tags of the "Elmos"... or worse yet the $1800 price tag of the "SMART Doc Cam."   Not possible on your school or personal budget? worries!  I have the answer for you!!!

Meet "HUE"...
Hue HD Webcam and Box
This little guy is the answer to all of your doc cam needs!
He simply plugs into your computer and operates just like an expensive document camera!  He takes pictures, he records, he projects things onto your "Smart" board (or other interactive board), he can zoom in and out, he can SKYPE, and he can record sound!  He's super flexible and re-positionable too! (For MAC or PC!)
This little guy does it all!
And did I mention they come in PINK!  (And many other colors too!)

The BEST part is.... He is only


It's one of the best kept "techie" secrets out there!

Are you excited or what?!!  The possibilities for making your content come alive are now limitless!   How about recording a video snippet everyday of those tadpoles in your science center...then combining the snippets to create a mini-movie of the life cycle of a frog?!  Or using "HUE" to record student reading behaviors and creating developmental portfolios for your kiddos?   How about using "Skype" to communicate with "pen pal" classes around your district, state, or world?!  Or... simply use this little man to project a regular book up on your interactive whiteboard screen for the whole class to view! 

(Check out the above picture-link to gain more info!) 

Be sure to post a comment on my BLOG if you liked this "techie" tip! 
I always love feedback! 
It lets me know what resources my followers are most interested in!

Gotta give a "shout out" to Lori Elliott
from SDE for sharing this incredible find with me! 

My First BLOG Award!

I just received my very first blog award! Actually... was blessed to be "double nominated!" Thank you to Cindy over at Hop n' Dots Teaching and Angela at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade for nominating me for "The Versatile Blogger" award.  I'm honored!  : )  So now I need to tell you seven random facts about myself and then tell you about some great blogs that I found.

Seven random facts about me:
1. My favorite dinner is a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate shake.  (I know... healthy, right?!)
2. I have been married for 18 years... and we dated 6 years prior to that.  (Yep!  Married my high school sweetheart!)
3. I have twins that JUST turned eleven two days ago.  (Twins that are 'tweeners!)
4. My youngest child is 7... and was a twin too...but Colton's twin is waiting for us in Heaven.  :)
5. I teach at a private, Christian school.
6. I used to be a Reading Recovery Teacher and an Early Literacy Coach/Consultant.
7. I recently won a $25,000 grant for my classroom from Pepsi!  Woo-Hoo!  Talk about feeling like I hit the jackpot! :)

There are sooo many out there...but here are some of the awesome Blogs I found and would like to nominate for the BLOG award!  (Check them out):
1. K is for Kinderrific
2. Modern Kindergarten
3. Heather's Heart
4. The Groovy Teacher

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Newbie Blogger Hop!

Janice at Grade Three is the Place for Me is hosting a Newbie Blogger Blog Hop to help
all of us new to the blogging world link up with each other.

First, post the following 5 things about yourself. 

1. what state are you in
2. your current teaching position
3. your teaching experience
4. when you started blogging
5. share a blogging tip/blogging resource

Then, head back to Grade Three is the Place for Me and link up using your post.

Here are the 5 things about me...
1. I teach in Indiana.
2. I teach Kindergarten... and also "LEAP" (Literacy
Enrichment and Achievement Program for kinder-aged kiddos!)
3. I am starting my 15th year of teaching : ) 
Eight years in public school as a kindergarten teacher, Reading Recovery teacher,
Literacy Specialist and Literacy Coordinator/Consultant....
and starting 7th year in Private School Education.
4. I started my own blog in June 2012....but am well experienced in BLOG stalking! Hee! 
5. I love sharing creative resources with other teachers!  I know my favorite BLOGS to follow are the ones that I can get tips/ideas from that I can use in the classroom the next day!  One of my favorite professional development instructors is Lori Elliot!  Check out her site at to find an unlimited number of educational and techy resource links! 

Now it's your turn! Join the fun!! I can't wait to meet you!!!

Oh... on the "personal" side... I had a glorious day with my newly "tween" twins!  It was their birthday, and we spent a wonderful, fun-filled day in Chicago!  I managed to sneak in two early morning professional development classes at the SDE conference before the rest of my family got up and got ready!  (Lazy bones! Hee!)  Then... we had a nice lunch together, walked down Michigan Ave. to the INCREDIBLE Chicago Museum of Art!   (My family and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE art!!! You will find out more about how I teach the "master" artists in my kinder-classroom soon!)  Then... after a stroll back, we opened gifts and then headed for the super yummy Cheesecake Factory!   Wow!  How can eleven years fly by so quickly???

Monday, July 23, 2012

Here's a Cool Tool for Ya!

Hello everyone!  Still here in Chicago enjoying the SDE Midwest Conference on Differentiated Instruction... and lovin' every minute of it!   The National "I Teach 1st!" Conference is going on here at the same time.  So... this is one fun place to be!  Everyone is so kind, warm and creative!  It's great!  Well... as the title of my BLOG suggests, my goal is to use this BLOG to share great resources.   So here is my tip of the day!  It's called "TAGXEDO."   This awesome website allows you to create awesome images (like the one below) in one minute or less! 
Don't ya' love it?  Think of how many ways you could use this!!!  Create a cool poster for your back to school board, print up T-shirts, make notecards, print and frame this for your kiddos' Christmas gifts... the possibilities are endless!  And the best part...... it's FREE!  You can adjust the colors, pick your own shape, save it, print it, post it in your blog or an email, etc! 

Simply follow these steps!
2. Click on the "CREATE" tab at top right.
3. Click on the "LOAD" button on left side of page.
4. Type a file name in the "WEBPAGE" box.
5. Type the names or words you want in the "Enter Text" box.
6. Pick your color, shapes, etc.
7. Save, print, tweet or post! 

It's that simple!  Do ya' like it?  Will you use this?  
Send me a comment and let me know! 
I have dozens of new, cool tips to post in the upcoming days!  Keep the comments coming to help direct me to what types of resources you like and don't like!  Feel free to "pin" the ideas you love!

I'd gotta go!  My darling hubby is on his way here with my kiddos.  Tomorrow we are going to celebrate my twins' birthday here is Chicago!  I have to finish up decorating the hotel room with balloons and streamers before they arrive!   Can't believe my "twinn-ers" will be "tween-ers" tomorrow!  Time flies!
I am so blessed! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Power Up!

Guess where I am today???   CHICAGO!  Yep, the "Windy City!"  I'm attending the "POWER UP!: Connecting Technology to Today's Learners" Conference hosted my SDE.  Gotta' say SDE (Staff Development for Educators) knows how to host a conference.  I went to the "I Teach K" national conference in Vegas last summer...and it was WONDERFUL!  I SOO wanted to go back this summer...but my next-door-teacher (who teaches 1st grade) was super excited to try some new things and had heard how much I loved the "I Teach K" conference and wanted to go to the "I Teach 1st" conference.  Soooo... I decided to go with her to Chicago because SDE was holding the "Power Up Tech" and "National Differentiated Instruction Conference" at the same time and location as the "I Teach 1st" Conference.  Whew!  ANY-WHO.... Here I am!  I had some GREAT sessions today! 

I just HAVE to share one of my highlights with ya'll!  :)   Lori Elliott.   My goodness, this super-cute southern gal is awesome.  You know, the kind of person that even though you just met her....she's like one of your best girlfriends..... who's REALLY smart!  Hee!  So here are a few "Have-To-Dos" for ya...

1. Check out the AWESOME resources that Lori shared with me today by visiting her site at   I mean it... if you are looking for some awesome new "techie" resources, websites, etc. .... you gotta check this out!!!

2. Consider grabbing one of her AWESOME...and oh so readable books. (Totally written in down-to-earth teacher talk!  Best techie books out there for teachers!!!)  This is what they (including Lori!) look like:
Books by Lori

3. Start saving your pennies TODAY...because I TOTALLY want to see you in Vegas at the "I Teach K" Conference in Vegas next year!!!  IT ROCKS!!!  (Plus... you'll get to meet Lori!  Hee!)

Better wrap this up!  Have a blessed weekend! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Super Cute Classroom Seating Idea!

Thanks to Ali, my wonderful sis-in-law and fellow kinder-teacher, I have a super cute idea to share with you for classroom seating!  Do you have an instructional reading table in your room??  Check out this creative and functional idea.  LOVE. IT.   

----> CRATE SEATING...with style!


Moving Right Along... Book Study Chapter 8

Hello Friends!  :)  Slowly, but surely I'm squeezing the minutes out of my busy summer "mommy" days to complete my book study of Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures and In Words.  I'm enjoying every page...and learning a lot!  I'm really beginning to develop a new "eye" (as Katie would say!) for how to more effectively teach my kinder-kiddos the art of compostition... in a way that addresses ALL of my students.  Teaching, using Katie's new perspective, will now be right on level for my "illustrating-writers"... and those who are actually prepared to write in words  AT THE SAME TIME!  If you are interested in learning how to teach using this parallel method.... check out this book!!!  

With that being said... I  have something else to add. (Moment of honesty here!)  As much as I'm loving the book and checking out all my FAV fellow kinder-teachers' comments and thoughts on the book via our on-line blogging book study....I will admit that the book study isn't my favorite topic to blog about.  I'm finding that the majority of my comments are very similiar to all the other kinder-peeps I'm book-blogging with.  I'm feeling a bit like I may be spinning my wheels with repeat comments.  While the book study is GREAT... I gotta admit, in regard to blogging, it's overwhelming my creative juices!  :)  Ya'll probably know that I just started my blog a few weeks ago... and am just getting my feet wet.  I'm so anxious to share so many other fun and creative thoughts and ideas...that I'm going to follow my gut here!  I will continue to share a few thoughts in my postings on the final chapters of the book study, but instead of re-stating the best ideas from each chapter... Starting with my next post, I am going to just post links to my other bookstudy blogging buds who already hit the nail on the head.   Thus... using achieving both of my goals!  YAY for flexibility and changing what needs to be changed mid-stream!   I know ya' get it...cause you are all teachers too, right!  Gotta love ya all!

Chapter 8 asks us to think about the precision and details we use in our writing and illustrations.  Follow this link over to one of the best of the best in the kinder-business....Kathleen's blog at "Growing Kinders" for thoughts and comments of our new chapter!!  Don't forget to visit Mrs. Will's blog too!  These gals are super smarties!!!  (Check out their TPT products too!  LOVE. THEM.  Sooo addicted to TPT:Teachers Pay Teachers!!!)  


Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Study: In Pictures and In Words (Section Two - Chapter 7)

Section Two of In Pictures and In Words

The second half of this wonderful book introduces 50 illustration techniques (with detailed explanations and lesson plans) and guides you how to teach children these illustrating techniques with purposeful intention, while SIMULTANEOUSLY helping students understand what it means to write well!

All the information you will need to teach illustrating and writing as a parallel composing process are in the second half of this beautiful book!

DeeDee Wills (Top “Kinder-Blogger” in the world!... OK… at least in my heart!) does a fantastic job highlighting this chapter.  Pop on over to her blog by following this link…

 Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Sorry for the Interruption!

Sorry for the lag in posting lately!  :)  After my last post, we were "hit" (literally) my a string of 90+ mph wind storms that put me out of commission for a while.  We lost power....and therefore access to water... for a week!  Ugh!  One lesson learned... you do NOT want to live in the country...with NO POWER... and therefore NO water pump for your water-well... therefore the inability to flush a toilet for a week!  WOO-WEE! Top that with 105+ degree temps. and loss of internet... and you have a rough week.   My kiddos thought we were re-living the stone ages!  Hee!  But we survived... and let me tell you, we are more appreciative and thankful for what we have.   I'm not one to sit I spent my dark evenings in my basement (it was much cooler down there!) wearing a headlamp (I know you are picturing this in your head...and YES... I looked ridiculous!), pricing and sorting kids clothes for a garage sale.  Hey, I figured I might as well be productive!  And let me say... the day after our power was restored, we had a hum-dinger of a garage sale!  I hit four digits of profit on the first day...and doubled that by Sunday!  Gotta love it!

So... Now that I'm done with that slight detour...On with the show!  I'm working on my next post already.  I'll be sharing my comments on Chapter 7 of Katie Wood Ray's Book, In Pictures and In Words.  If you are a kinder-teacher who does "writer's workshop" in your's a MUST-READ!  :)