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Sunday, March 31, 2013

TWT Celebration - Day 6

Are you all having fun yet?? I have had so much fun sharing with you some of my favorite bloggers this week. If you haven't stopped in to say hi to them... please do so! I promise it will be well worth your time!

Think, Wonder ,& Teach

Today, I want to share with you some more of my favorite bloggers. It is amazing how much you can find in common with someone you have never met in person.

joyin6th Homepage

Kim is one of those rare people who truly understands me. You see... she has this obsession with the color purple. It can't just be any purple but a certain shade of purple. It has to match. Not just a little but completely. She is just a slightly OCD... just... like... me! Except I have this issue with the colors black and red. Not a dark red, not a pinky red, not a glow-in-the-dark red... just red. LOL! 

See what I mean... only Kim is shaking her head right now in complete agreement while the rest of you think I have lost my mind. Its okay! I know I am insane. I can live with that! 
And then there is Mimi! She is incredible. She spends so much time keeping 3-6 Free Resources up and running for me. I started it but quickly found out I was WAAAY over extended to keep up. Mimi is the genius who keeps it all running smoothly. Plus she randomly sends me encouraging emails... always when I need them the most.

They both have hearts of gold and all of the resources on their sites are free! So instead of joining me to giveaway items, we are giving away gift cards today!




Thank you both for your friendship and support!!


Check back on April 3 for the winners and be sure to enter the other contests as well. 


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

TWT Celebration - Day 5

So a few days back, I did a giveaway for grades K-2. And yes... all of the giveaways are still open! I am cool like that! I am having so much fun giving stuff away and the fun is not over yet.

Today... is for all my 3-6 friends. My heart is right there with you. I absolutely love teaching this level of students. They are still young enough to enjoy cutesy projects but old enough to do handle more challenging work. It is the perfect blend for me!

Think, Wonder ,& Teach

I asked a few of them to stop by and here they are with some great prizes for today's winner!





Just like with my K-2 pals the other day... I wish... oh how I wish... I could share with you how incredible each of these teachers are but you will just have to click on the images above and see for yourself!

Remember, winners will be announced on April 3 and you must be a follower of my blog to win! Feel free to grab the button and share... everywhere!

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 3 Freebies!

Hi Everyone -

I got a notice letting me know that the freebies from yesterday weren't actually available for free. Call it a blonde moment! I set the sale to go from 3-28 @ 12am to 3-28 @12 am. So... for 1 minute it was free! Hahahaha! Can you tell how tired I have been?

Today I went in and updated it from 3-28 @ 12 am to 3-30 @ 12 am... and I double checked! They really are now showing up as freebies! Sorry for the double post but I thought you would all excuse me this one time (or welll... like the 20th time actually!).


TWT Celebration - Day 4

Think, Wonder ,& Teach

I introduced you at the beginning of the week to my BFF. Today, I would like to introduce you to two other amazing women who have made grad school not only bearable but entertaining as well.


Shortly after starting TWT, I met Erika. She designed my first blog and then redesigned it. Good thing she loves me right??  She spent countless hours helping me search for the right pieces of read and black that mixed elegance, fun, and glitter.

Bwahahahaha! 
What a combination!

We became fast friends during the process of the first design and then I became her project manager at Honey Bunch Blog Designs. Things have well... exploded from there as her small business got a lot bigger than we ever expected. We are nearing our 300th blog design! And each one is completely unique!


Erika also has her own blog as she is not only an amazing designer but an amazing teacher as well.

She is joining me today and we are giving away a $15 Gift Certificate to HBBD! That is the biggest giveaway we have ever done! It can be used for an upgrades or custom design.


So who is my other buddy... Nikki from Melonheadz Illustrating. She is one of the artists on staff at HBBD and I adore her. She makes me laugh every day. She never ceases to amaze me with her talents.

One of Nikki's most popular products ever was her line of Custom Melonheadz. They are so popular in fact that she had to discontinue taking her own orders as it was just to overwhelming. You can still order them from HBBD but we limit how many we take on. We love Nikki and want to keep her sane!

Have you been wanting your own custom Melonheadz!? Well today... we are giving one away!


I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life who cheer me on no matter how busy I get. Thank you both! I couldn't have made it through the last year without either of you! Love ya!



Today... there will be two winners instead of one. Remember, you must follow my blog to be a winner and winners will be announced on April 3.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

TWT Celebration - Day 3

Think, Wonder ,& TeachI wanted to do something different than I have the past few days... I wanted to give each of you a gift as my way of saying Thank you to each and everyone of you for everything you have done for me in the last year.

I can't say it enough... I am a better teacher today because of you. I know that each time I visit your blog, I become even better than I am today.

While you are reading this post, I am probably in an interview for Exemplary Student Teacher of the Year. I passed the first round and am one of five representing my university. There are 12 open positions...

I am here because of you. You took the time out of your day to write a post that taught me more than I ever learned in a textbook. You took the time to create products that inspire me. You took the time to answer my questions. For that, I will be forever grateful!

Today only... (or until I remember to take them off of "free status").... I have placed all the Birthday Items in my store as free! For this celebration I created...

a calendar and boggle set! I use this in my classroom for many, many different things and I have a whole collection of ones that I have created. This summer, I am releasing my math wall center which will utilize the new format of calendar cards.

a picture prompt set! 30 different prompts... hopefully enough to cover every one of your kiddos birthdays in class. This meets the standards and allows your students to have fun writing. Add it to each individual student's journal as a way to remember a friend's birthday or collect them and send them home with the birthday child!

I also have a birthday fun pack which includes math and literacy review, posters, and stationary. I love this set and am planning on adding a bunch more to it when I have more time. I designed it specifically with my ELL students in mind and also to provide the birthday child with some alternate work for the day.



and who could forget my birthday balloons!

So stop in at the store my bff created and see what magic she has woven. Not only did she build the store but she edited all of the pages, made a new credits page, and created the beautiful covers and graphics for each one. Thanks Lorrea!

All of the products are available free only at the new TWT store. I am hoping that I found some time to upload these to TpT and TN prior to this going live but no guarantees. I have quite a few new products that are only here for now as this is the only place Lorrea has had access to. =) Guess once finals are done I need to get busy!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

TWT Celebration - Day 2

Today is for all of my K-2 friends. I have so much admiration for all that you!

I spent a week in Kindergarten as a sub... I am sure many of you will remember my pleas for help. I spent over 100 hours in 1st and 2nd grade this past year. You all seem to have so much fun and have the cutest ideas ever! I am just not sure that I have the patience for such small people.

We shall see what the future holds but for now... I want to introduce you to some of my amazing K-2 friends. These guys are my heroes. I have no idea how they do what they do each and everyday and still have time for us.
Think, Wonder ,& Teach

AND they all stopped by to join me in celebrating my Blogoversary! Today's winner will receive....











I wish I had time to introduce you to each of these amazing teacher-authors but if I did that this post would be huge and you would fall asleep while reading it. So I you will just have to click on the items they are giving away above and hope over to their blog to see while I adore them all so much!


Check back on April 3 for the winners of each contest during the giveaway. Remember, you have to be a follower of my blog to win.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TWT Turns 1!!

I am late... well beyond late. This is a very belated blogoversary celebration but I wanted to have time to celebrate with you and well... It took me a while but I have so much fun planned for all of you!

For the next week... I will be sharing with you some of my favorite bloggers, giving away some amazing products, memberships, and even some flash freebies! 7 Days of fun!!

To start the week of with a blast... grab the button below and share the celebration with your followers.

Think, Wonder ,& Teach
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.thinkwonderteach.com" title="Think, Wonder ,& Teach"><img src="http://thinkwonderteach.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Blogoversary-Button.png" alt="Think, Wonder ,& Teach" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Have you all met my BFF Lorrea?? She has been my partner-in-crime for over a decade. We met when I was homeschooling my oldest who at the time was only a toddler. My computer died and I had not clue what to do. I was a HUGE emotional mess as I was also extremely pregnant with son #2. She dropped everything and ran over to my house to fix the thing. We have been inseparable since as have our children.


Isn't she beautiful? She is not only an amazing friend but she has a heart of gold and is extremely talented. We fit each other perfectly as my strengths are her weaknesses and her weaknesses are her strengths. Plus everyone seems to think we look alike. She started her own company a few years ago and just hired me on to keep her organized.

Cuz you know... It's not like my life isn't busy and hectic already! But who could resist getting a chance to work with their BFF?? Not me that is for certain! So of course I said yes!! And then I talked her into joining me over at Honey Bunch Blog Design as she is an amazingly talented programmer.

So... why am I sharing all of this with you during my blog celebration?? This is why...


She made me a present as I am almost done with Graduate School. Isn't it amazing!?

I was considering creating an online portfolio so that way I could use it on my resume. She combined everything into one spot and in essence created me the most beautiful portfolio ever.

Oh and she made the new logo with the help of Andi at Irrational arts who create a swirly tree for me that I am obsessed with. There are two different versions a black/red one and a white/red one. Did ya notice? I LOVE it!

To find me... all you have to do is go to thinkwonderteach.com! There... you can see this beautiful page. Each one of those pictures is a portal into my world... my blog, my classroom, and can you believe it a store!

My own store! She took every product I have ever made and turned it into a workbook graphics. And put it on the store shelves! She is still working on it as I have 80 products (yep some you have never even seen before) that she is fixing up. She also created my blogversary button to match. See why I love her so much??

Okay... so Lorrea made me a present to celebrate but she also has one for you as well! She is giving away an annual membership to Technology-Adventures! This is where she shares how she does all the incredible things she does like creating my portfolio site.


This is only the first giveaway of many and you will want to see what else I have in store for you. I am so excited! Winners will be announced for all giveaways on April 3rd!

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Warning.... Whining Ahead!

Eight weeks left of grad school and I feel like I am drowning. There is sooo much to do an sooo little time to do it.

The School to do list:

  • Final Project for this course... 80 pages (includes 5 lesson plans) - 51 pages done!
  • Final Group project... 20 pages (includes 1 lesson plan)
  • Finish physical portfolio for presentation on Thursday
  • Finish digital portfolio for presentation on April 1 - pawned off to BFF for help
  • Get application into NASA for summer internship
  • Prepare for final interview for Student Teacher of the year
  • Start last course on Thursday
  • Finalize student teaching arrangements by April 1
  • Schedule final certification exam and begin to study for it by May 1
Then there is the blog to do list: 
  • Upload new products to TN and TpT (I have a bunch!)
  • Finish putting together the blogoversary giveaway
  • Blog Design stuff needs to be done
  • Technology Adventures is being neglected
  • Write blog posts about what is happening
Then there is my own personal life to deal with... I won't even start the whining to-do list on that one as it will never end!! How does one keep up with everything and still have a life? 

It's a beautiful day out... it would be great for hiking but I am drowning in things to do. I have heard it is worse when student teaching. How can I keep up with all the to-dos and be a wife and mama and friend? 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: QRamel

Have you ever used QR codes in the classroom?

A QR code is a multi-dimensional barcode. My thought has been why use it? I can see it for stores and such. I get it. Plus anyone with a smart phone and a curious mind can find out what the message is but for me... QR codes do not intrigue me.

When I got asked to do this review I thought... hmmm... cute stickers but do I really (1) want to pay that much for stickers (2) have the technology to use this in the classroom (3) have the time to allow my students to use this (4) will it meet any standards and (5) is it engaging and fun?

So... I said sure. Send it on over and I will take a looksy. I left out the part where I was doubting the value of it. After all, I have a few teacher friends who are super techy that I could pass it along to and it would get some use.




QRamel offered to send me the alphabet ones in the first picture but I asked for the pirate set as well as I am working on a new product line with pirates and well... it may have just been a perfect fit for it! The animal alphabet is 1 page and the pirate set is 2. Each page is $8.99 through their site or at Amazon.

When you get the stickers... you will also need to download the free app to use with them. The app is designed for iPhones but you can easily use it on your iPad as well. The app will ask you to create an account.


After you scan the pictures, the above screen appears. This is where I was surprised with all of the options available! I can add a voice, video, text, or picture to the sticker! AWESOME! These expensive stickers just got better. You can only use one of the options and once you have it recorded... that's it. There is no editing available.

I had to come up with a way to use them that would not require a sticker per child.

For the alphabet one, I thought it would make a great review! My buddy Kindergarten Smorgasboard makes a hat for each letter of the alphabet with his students. This could then be a fun review activity. He could add the picture of him in the hat, say the letter, some words that go with it. He could even make it into a video!

Hey... Mr. Smorgasboard... 
will you sing us a song and do a dance in your cute hats?? 
What if I say pretty please??

This would be great for my ELL students too. They love anything with technology but I am afraid I do not have any cute hats or a song and dance for them.

Onto the pirate set... my plans are to create cute little pirate maps and place a QR code on each one. Then I am going to laminate them for durability. These will become the centers to go along with my new product line. I want to utilize all of the options available in the app. So one maybe a picture and yep... its a writing prompt! Another maybe directions in the form of a text, a video with a top secret activity, and an audio clip for a job well done. I am so excited to use this and create it.

So fun... yes. Multiple uses... yes. Expensive on a teacher's budget... yes. So... what do you think?

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is a Webquest?

A few classes back... I had to learn all about webquests. It was for my Social Studies course but we explored how this can be used in other subject areas as well. So... since the grades are in... I can now share!

What is a webquest? 

Well... its like an online unit. When you create a lesson plans for a unit in your class.... you find resources, create activities, provide direct instruction, ..... The same thing with a webquest EXCEPT the entire unit is online and will be read by your students. It is also designed in such a way that another teacher can use it as well. 

Pros
This is a great way to provide additional resources on a top to your student. Especially primary resources. It is an excellent way to tie in technology to your lesson plans and to share this with both colleagues, your PLN, and your students. 

It is also a great way to add content and information as homework freeing up your time in class and the pressure to get it all in. You can always change things at any time to take away something that didn't work or add something new. 

Cons
It takes a lot of time to build a webquest. You do all the research for your students in advance. They just go where you tell them too. While this does protect them from veering off into uncharted territory and perhaps stumbling across something you would rather they didn't... it also takes away from learning a valuable skill. 

In addition, I found some of the required pages redundant. You create a welcome page AND an introduction page. You build a task page AND a page for each of those tasks. 

Fundamental Components

To be a webquest... you have to have certain pages in certain order on your site. Here is the list in case you are unfamiliar with this concept.  (1) Welcome (2) Introduction (3) Task (4) Process (5) Evaluation (6) Conclusion and (7) Credits/Teachers Page. Between the Process and Evaluation Pages is where you build the individual task pages. 

Where to go? 

Zunal is the site recommended by my university. You can build a free quest to try it out but it limits you on the options or you can purchase a membership for 2 years for $20 and get unlimited options and the ability to create as many webquests as you want. You can also create a classroom full of web quests and add in members so only certain people can access it. 

With Zunal your options for customization are limited. I finally figured out how to change the background color and the color of the buttons. You do not really have a say in how it goes on the page as everything is done by template and the size that appears is the size ya get. 

The other recommendation was Quest Garden. Now this site looks like it has many more options for customization. However, I couldn't get it to work when I needed it. I sent a message to tech-support and they manually set up an account for me but by then the assignment was due so I passed. 

Examples

The first quest I made was for the first week of Social Studies in 8th Grade. It is a fun introduction that also introduces students to three different types of technology we would be using throughout the school year. 

The second one I created was on the Holocaust. Now I will warn you... this is a weird twist on the traditional method of teaching and I do actually know both guest speakers personally. So for me, this is actually a possibility.... if I taught eight grade social studies. I am going to  add another disclaimer. The purpose of this question is for the student to develop his or her perspective NOT to share my own perspective on this situation.

I got my first "beyond exceptional" grade on the Holocaust webquest. Never seen that grade before but I know for some this quest is a hard one to teach. 

How do you use webquests in your classroom? What is your favorite quest?

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sixth Grade Funnies

I have been splitting my time lately between an ELD Fourth Grade class and a Sixth Grade Science Class. Now while I am enjoying teaching both... I LOVE SIXTH GRADE!

My mentor is "high energy" or as her students say "insane." BUT you have to love her. She is just so cute and fun! Plus I have never had so much fun in Science. Shhhh! Don't tell but science is on my short list of boring subjects. Until now...

Anyways... tomorrow is Monday and I am so excited! How can anyone be excited about a Monday? Well.. its easy in Sixth Grade. Starting the first week of March, the countdown for AIMS (our standardized testing) begins. In addition, Spring Break is thrown in there just to mess with the teacher's mind and to keep things interesting.

So how does one deal with the insanity? By starting the Monday Funny Video tradition! Every Monday from now until the end of AIMS, she plays a funny video just because. Here is last week's:


Its only 25 seconds so she played it twice. We were all laughing so hard. My favorite part of the day is when the social studies teacher came down the hall and said "what does a screaming goat have to do with science?" And my mentor answered "nothing! Its just funny."

Have you ever seen a bunch of sixth graders walking down the hall and randomly screaming like a goat? Oh my! It still makes me laugh! And the laughs didn't end on Monday either! It kept going all week long. The students found more goat videos and shared them with each other on Schoology.

It was amazing how much more relaxed and how much we got accomplished in 45 minutes when everyone was relaxed. Wanna know what we are watching this week??


We are classifying animals and this one was suggested by our students for this week's video. Plus, they are working on cause and effect in Language Arts. This is a great tie in and funny too!

How do you mange the insanity leading up to Spring Break and Standardized Testing?

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Teaching Cultural Identity.

Yesterday, I talked about creating a positive class culture. It is important when designing our classrooms that we think about how we address cultural identities in our classroom.


Each student walks into our classroom with a sense of who they are and where they come from. This perspective of who they are shows up in every conversation and every piece of writing that student turns in. How can we make the student feel comfortable?

How can we teach our students to accept, embrace, and even learn from the differences among their classmates? Teaching cultural identity in some form, perhaps not in the same way as in the video I shared above,  I feel is a necessity within the first week of school.

For me, part of creating a positive class environment means learning about one another and ensuring that everyone, regardless of cultural differences, feels at home and comfortable in my classroom.

What can you do to help every student feel comfortable in your classroom this upcoming year?

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