Saturday, July 11, 2015

Periscope: A Teacher's New Best Friend's all the rage in the Teacher World this week!  Have you tried it?  No?  What the heck is that, you ask.  Periscope is a live-streaming video app that allows you to interact in real-time with your audience or vice versa.  You can download the app for free, take a deep breath, turn the camera around on YOU, and channel your inner Oprah to create a live broadcast that is available online for 24 hours.  Your followers get a notification that you are about to "go live" and can join you in real-time.

If you are doing a broadcast, you can see who joins in and what comments or questions they are posing so you can respond.  You can also see how much love your followers are giving you with the flow of hearts on the side of the screen, which is generated by tapping the screen with your finger.  Followers usually give you love if they like what you're saying, want to encourage you to keep doing what you're doing, or if they are watching with a four year old by their side...which is typically the case in my scenario...she likes to give lots of love to whomever we are watching!

Nervous to create your first broadcast?  First of all, I don't blame you.  It's intimidating to think about turning the camera phone around on yourself and having to speak without losing your train of thought or stammering.  But, guess what, most people start out that are definitely not alone.  My first scope was a few nights ago around midnight in my newborn daughter's nursery.  I was rocking her to sleep after a rough day from immunizations.  It was definitely not my most glamorous moment, but it was authentic.  People connect with being real.  And, I'm sure that you will be surprised about how much support you might receive on this platform by being yourself.

Want to just be a "creeper peeper" on Periscope first?  Go ahead...I mean within reason, of course.  Explore on Periscope and see what's being posted around the world.  I watched a scope from a woman who was touring the Greek ruins along the Aegean Sea a few days ago.   That was so cool.  I didn't comment or even tap the screen to give her love, but it allowed me to explore a little before getting started on my own.  Plus, broadcasts are available to watch on replay within 24 hours of posting, so even if you don't catch one live you can always replay without worrying about the interaction factor.

There are tremendous possibilities of how to use this app for professional development and in the classroom.  Stay tuned to a future blog post that discusses some ideas on what you may be able to do with this app! sig signup3 photo blog sig signup3.png

Monday, June 29, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Week 2 Dare to Dream

So, I've joined the #tptsellerchallenge, which is a 4-week challenge to enhance your TpT Store (find mine here) and boost your presence on social media (find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram).

It also appears to be a great way to connect and learn with other fantastic educators.  I joined a few weeks late, since I've been busy with my newborn daughter, but I have learned a lot from just reading what everyone else has been doing!  Week 2 challenges us to dream about what we want from our TpT journey.  If you never dream it, then how can you achieve it - right?!?  So here goes...

I taught seventh grade science for five years before becoming a work-at-home mom.  For me, it was tough only spending three hours of the day with my own child.  I knew that I would regret not spending time with my children while they were young when a traditional teaching job could, theoretically, always be available.

I have been blessed to stay at home for a year now and have added a new daughter to our crew in that time.  My oldest likes to play school as she readies for preschool in the coming year.  She likes to call me "Mrs. Mommy" when we pretend to have calendar time.  TpT allows me to be Mrs. Mommy and for that I am very thankful.

College loans stink.  It was a great idea to attend a private liberal arts school when I was 18.  Oh, and then again for my masters...until you realize you will be paying off your loans for what seems like forever.  Although my alma mater was a great fit for me, met wonderful people (husband included), and enjoyed every bit of the life would be so much better for our generation without being shackled to so much student loan debt.  As my store blooms, I hope to be able to take on this monster before my own kids start college themselves!

Financial freedom also means that my hard-working husband can then dabble into projects that he loves.  He has always been a huge supporter of me being a work-at-home mom.  He knows that working on creative curriculum materials puts me in my happy place...and whose husband wouldn't want their wife to be in their happy place?!?  Earning financial freedom with the development of a successful store will help me return the favor.

We also like to travel.  I hope to be able to show my children the world - even though I will be explaining the weather, the biomes, or plant/animal adaptations as we go to, I imagine, eye-rolling teenagers.  Oh well - once a science teacher, always a science teacher!

TpT allows me to support all those teachers who are fighting the good fight out in the trenches of everyday classroom life. The demands on a teacher are extreme in the current environment.  Teachers must continuously assess students then analyze the data, alter their plans to remediate or enrich the students based on the data, track how much value is being added to each student's education as the year progresses, connect with parents over various social media platforms, participate in and prepare for school leadership meetings, and the list goes on and on.

So, what happens when your brain has been moving at a million miles an hour with only time for a 15-minute lunch/restroom break?  You lose all creative juices.  Lessons get boring.  Students tune out.

My TpT store allows me to provide carefully crafted resources to supplement the teachers who find themselves in the same position.  Eliminating those extra demands has allowed me to be creative again!  I can work on engaging and challenging materials for the students that have a polished appearance beyond what I would have had time for while working everyday in the classroom.

My hope is that teachers can relax a little more, spend more time with their families, and know that TpT has them covered.  Maybe a little tweak here or there to fit their own classrooms, but they never have to start from scratch!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow Day Announcement to "Uptown Funk"

It has been bone-chilling cold in much of the eastern half of the United States this week.  In Ohio, where I'm located, many students are working on their fourth snow/cold day in a row!  You have to love this principal, from Chillicothe, Ohio, who decided to brave the snow and below zero temperatures to create a fun Snow Day announcement to "Uptown Funk!"  I'm sure the students and parents loved seeing this announcement!

Now I just need to get my mother, who is also a principal, to up the ante with her own original snow day announcement.  I promise I'll videotape.  Maybe my sister-in-law, also a teacher, can help with choreography!

Stay warm, teacher friends!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Save 15% on this SUPER Sale!

Do you have items on your wishlist?  This weekend is a perfect time to purchase those products and SAVE 15% in my TpT Store!  I continue to add quality products daily, so stop by to check it out!

You may be interested in these products!

Science Fair Survival SUPER Pack

Let it Grow! Winter Snowflake Science for Grades 3-5 and 5-8

Rube Goldberg Machine Challenge

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Storm Stories - Severe Weather 10-Day PBL Unit

Looking for an authentic way to teach severe weather?  This Storm Stories project is a 10-Day Project-Based Learning unit that allows students to research the formation of four storms: tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and lake effect snow and is found in my TeachersPayTeachers store here

The first part of the project is for students to research how these various storms are formed.  The research compiled by the students is organized into a Storm Recipe Book.  Then, the students work together to create an informational newscast as if they are reporters live on the scene of the storm.  The students must incorporate the information they gathered in the recipe books and weave that knowledge into their broadcast.

This project includes QR codes on the handouts, which allows students to easily be directed to the websites for research as long as the devices they are using has a camera function because a free QR code reader can be installed.  The students simply open the QR code reader and hold the worksheet up to the camera on the device to be scanned.  The QR code reader will then open up to the website the student needs - no "www...." typing to worry about!

The final newscasts can be filmed with an iPad or a video camera - that is completely optional.  We've experimented so much with this over the years and tried to figure out what works best as our technology and expertise has improved.  You can have the kids make back drops by hand with paint and/or bulletin board paper, stand in front of a screen that has a clip of their storm playing in the background, or even try to use "green screen technology" to later go back and edit in a video clip of the storm to really make it seem like they were live on the scene of the storm.  It's never going to be perfect the first time around, but don't be afraid of experimenting!  The kids are really excited to participate in this project regardless of the high-tech editing and are even more excited to show you what THEY know about this area.

Here's a video edited together from the first year we tried this project out.  You can see that the green screen needed tweaked for it to work properly, so we just left the green background without the editing this year.  The students still thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and loved to watch their peers' newscasts as well!