3/30/2014

Google Calendar can help bloggers, like you!

So, have you seen the Teacher Training Bootcamp about Google?  I did and I wanted in on the action!   These ladies welcomed me in and now we're learning about Google Calendar.  When teachers collaborate, we can solve almost any problem!

I feel like I do a good job of keeping my work appointments & personal events organized on my iPhone.
This year I opened a FB page and began blogging on 2 collaborative blogs.  I quickly realized that I needed to get my blogging life organized. After all, we (bloggers) have Blog Hops, FB Frenzies, TpT Sales, Linky Parties, Giveaways, Guest Posts and posting on our own little blogs.  I've been blogging for 2 years and although I'm not a "mega-blogger", I have a fair share of bloggie friends who ask me to participate in events. This week alone, I have 1 post on Adventures in Literacy Land, 1 post on Who's Who and Who's New and I have this Google Linky.  Wow!  I'm busy.  So, I decided that I needed to make Google Calendar "Blogger" Friendly.  Below is a quick video I made (for all the visual learners) to explain how Google Calendar can help you organize a blog hop.



video

Take the time and learn a little more about Google Calendar.
An InLinkz Link-up

This Little Piggy is becoming a technie nerd!

3/21/2014

Book Giveaway & a Free Literacy Center for Youngsters

So a few weeks ago, I was on FB and I saw one of my former sorority sisters at a book signing.  I'm a reading teacher (at heart), so it peeked my interest.  As I did a little exploring, the book intrigued me.  If you don't already know I have a bit of a passion for multiculturalism and finding characters of all ethnicities to introduce my students to.

Turns out, the author, Kat Chimney is from Houston so she's fairly close and my mind started thinking a skype session or even an author visit (maybe in the future).  I jumped on board and asked where to find Keilah West, The World's Greatest Klutz. - to my surprise, Kat sent me a free copy of the book.  How sweet is that???   
Look at this picture, doesn't Kat look like she's your best friend?
The Friday before Spring Break, the book arrived.  I was giddy.  I opened it and showed it to all my teacher friends, who 'ooooh'd and aaaaah'd' all over the book.  Yes, they were jealous.  Immediately, every teacher in the lounge fell in love with the main character, Keilah (key-luh).  The illustrations are OUTSTANDING!  I cannot say enough about the illustrations by Robyn Haley - she's got major talent.

I had the opportunity to read Keilah West, The World's Greatest Klutz to my 1st grade GT pull-out students. I decided to talk about character traits and adjectives.  I knew that they worked on adjectives around Valentine's Day.  None of them knew what the word klutz meant.  But, as we read the book they used context clues to figure it out!  All of them were able to tell me either fall down or clumsy.  I didn't take any pics :(

I made a bubble map and had them put their answers for what they thought klutz meant and to give text evidence to support their answer.  EVERYONE was successful.  I do have some bilingual students who couldn't write their answers but were able to verbalize their answers.  Then, we did a word sort and sorted nouns and adjectives from the book.  It wasn't fancy, just notecards.  

The good news, they all loved Keilah West, The World's Greatest Klutz and immediately asked if there were other books with Keilah as the main character!  I told them that was called a series.  GUESS WHAT?  Kat is working on a series starring Keilah!

When I contacted Kat and told her that my students loved the book and I was writing a review for the book, she offered to do a giveaway for my followers!  She wants to give your class a brand spankin' new book and some goodies (pencils, bookmarks, etc...).




If your kiddos need some help with adjectives, nouns and verbs, this free literacy center will help them.  If you end up winning or buying the book, the center is aligned to Keilah West, The World's Greatest Klutz.  Click the pic below to get the free literacy center.

I'm linking this forever freebie to a few link-up's.

This Little Piggy loves meeting new characters.

3/19/2014

Workshop Wednesday Linky


So for a seriously long time, I've seen Jivey's Workshop Wednesday Linky & I've wanted to link up.  In fact, I've tried to 2 or 3 times, but it never quite worked out.  Today, I am just doing it.

Her theme this week is collaboration & bragging on others.  I'm supposed to link to a blog or product that has helped me this year.  Okay, this is an easy one!  

For me, Hilary Lewis has been my hero this year - in more ways than one.  
I know my blog has been lacking this year.  I feel bad about it.  My only excuse is that I'm in a new position - not just new to me, but fairly new to my district so I have had to learn a lot.  
On Monday's I pull 1st Grade GT Students from multiple campuses.  I've NEVER taught 1st Grade, EVER.  I've definitely never enriched them.  So, this year my job is simply to provide enrichment.  Originally, I wanted to do this through project based learning.  However, I meet in the library (sometimes, in the cafeteria, sometimes in the hall) and there is no room for keeping supplies or ongoing projects.  So....I had to revise my plan.  I moved toward logic puzzles.  Hilary Lewis has these AMAZING Logic Puzzles for Little Learners!  
Fast forward to December.  I got an e-mail from Hilary asking me to join in her new collaborative blog, Who's Who and Who's New.  Who would say NO?  Not me.  I jumped on board right away, no questions asked.  Hilary has made a big impact on my life this year.  I love her product, it's made my life much easier and I'm grateful she asked me to be a part of her new bloggie adventure.

This Little Piggy loves logic puzzles.

3/07/2014

Flipped PD - anyone interested??

It's finally Spring Break!  

Today my team created a training video for teachers in lieu of a meeting that would explain how to give a test.  The video was 2 minutes & the training would have been at least 30 minutes!!  Wow, what a difference.  We used an app called educreations.

Have you used it or heard of it?  I thought it was pretty easy to use.  We uploaded pictures, then we wrote a script for what we would like to say for each slide and finally, we recorded the video.  

Okay, we recorded it twice.  We encountered a few issues when we made the video.  First, it picked up *any* background sound, including me drawing on the iPad.  Second, we made 1 mistake and had to start over.  Once you press record you can't delete the recording and start over, you have to erase the entire presentation and begin again.   For kids, there will definitely be a learning curve.  

We know that the Flipped Classroom is all the rage, what about Flipped PD?  If you're interested in creating Flipped PD or Flipping some or all of your classroom this tool would definitely be a benefit!!  We took a 30 min. meeting and made it into a 2 min. video!  Don't you think teachers will find that valuable?  That would save a ton of "meeting time".

This Little Piggy wants to hear - what are your views on flipped PD?

3/01/2014

Saturday Night Teacher Feature "Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars"


Being a teacher can be so difficult.  Aside from just day to day teaching, we have to attend planning meetings, grade papers, go to staff meetings, prep/plan, go to grade level meetings, differentiate lessons, go to RtI meetings, make copies and attend PLC meetings.  Does anyone else feel like they spend their days at meetings?

Today is our day to "feature" other teachers and recognize their amazing work!

I'd like you to meet, Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars.  
You might know her as a blogger, but I know her as my friend.  
We haven't met before, but we have a lot in common.  
We both love teaching reading, we don't have a homeroom class, we are both from the south and we have a perfect little 4 person family.

Here are her " Top 3 Greatest Hits!"
I love her post, "Graphic Organizers vs. Thinking Maps". 
 I knew there was a difference, in fact I had been to multiple classes on Thinking Maps, but they were 4 years ago while I was pregnant.  
I've slept (some) since then and Andrea made it all so clear in an easy to understand format.  
Click the pic below to take a peek at her post!

Since Andrea is originally from Louisiana, I'm sure this product is near and dear to her heart!  
It's a Mardi Gras non-fiction pack.  
I have a lot of students with family from Louisiana or are transplants from LA. 
They love anything to do with Louisiana, especially Mardi Gras.  
So this is definitely high engagement.  Aside from student interest, it would be great for a literacy center.  
It reinforces Main Idea, Inferencing and Text Features.  

While we're talking about Mardi Gras, snatch up this free game board to use in class.  

If you aren't following Andrea's blog, Reading Toward the Stars, you should!



This Little Piggy loves her bloggie friends!

My Currently & a Giveaway??

March is FINALLY Here!  Guess what?  I ONLY have about 14 weeks of school left!!  And even better, we have 6 more daycare payments and then we're looking at buying a new car!!!  Okay, not NEW, but new to us.  Truthfully, I'm way too cheap to buy a NEW car.

It's time for the March Currently and Farley got a blog makeover.  I've got to get a blog makeover.  I want one soooooo bad!


I'm watching Dallas.  It is an awesome show.  If you haven't caught it, go catch up!

I really love my FB Fan Page.  I love when we have convos.  I held off making one for a really long time because I felt like I was already spread thin.  But, now I love it!  

My hair is actually the longest it's ever been.  It is just blah and I feel like it's time for a change.  HUM.......

EvErYbOdy is getting a blog makeover.  Right?  I want one too!!!  Maybe this month!

Maybe a giveaway and a makeover?  What do you think? Anybody up for a giveaway??

2/23/2014

Come visit me

On Friday, I posted over at one of my collaborative blogs, Who's Who and Who's New.  
This is a great blog with a lot of awesome collaborators who post lots of ideas and seldom any products.  
If you're interested in seeing how my students did with their snow globe writing project - hop on over!


This Little Piggy can't wait for The Walking Dead tonight and Scandal on Thursday!