Thursday, April 24, 2014

Groundbreaking Augmented Reality from @GoSphero - Amazing Robot Ball

Product Review:  Sphero
- click here to visit their site - 

What is Sphero? 

Sphero is a robot ball which can be controlled using mobile apps through Apple and Android devices. 

The main features of Sphero are:
  • Rolling - Sphero can roll at a given speed and heading for a given amount of time.
  • Colors - Sphero can light up in almost any color.
  • Bluetooth - Sphero connects to mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, and Android phones through bluetooth connections.  This allows Sphero to be controlled by multiple apps.

Sphero and Education 
Schools * Parents * Robots * Kids (SPRK)

Sphero believes what you play with inspires who you become.  With Sphero, the fun extends into the classroom.  Kids as young as 8 can learn how to program using Sphero, bringing their work into another dimension and real life application. 

Examples of these practical applications include:
  • Learning percentages by mixing colors at different levels
  • Using Sphero to recreate geometric shapes
  • Adjusting Sphero to meet a specific fraction
  • Command Sphero to perform a series of logical steps and navigate a course

  • Percentages – mixing colors at different levels to change the color Sphero glows.
  • Simple Geometry and Angles – make Sphero drive a square, pentagon, or rectangle to recreate learned shapes.
  • Fractions – provide a specific fraction and have the students calculate how to adjust Sphero to get the exact color.
  • Math operations – command Sphero to drive in a square, then use a multiplier or divisor to double or halve the square size.
  • Logic – command Sphero to preform a sequence of steps to navigate a course.
  • - See more at:
    What you play with inspires who you become. With Sphero, the fun extends to the classroom too. With over ten different programming environments, kids as young as eight years old can learn how to program Sphero. Using Sphero as an interactive and engaging tool brings core class work off the paper into real life application. Basic math and engineering classes just got upgraded for the mobile generation. - See more at:
    What you play with inspires who you become. With Sphero, the fun extends to the classroom too. With over ten different programming environments, kids as young as eight years old can learn how to program Sphero. Using Sphero as an interactive and engaging tool brings core class work off the paper into real life application. Basic math and engineering classes just got upgraded for the mobile generation. - See more at:
    What you play with inspires who you become. With Sphero, the fun extends to the classroom too. With over ten different programming environments, kids as young as eight years old can learn how to program Sphero. Using Sphero as an interactive and engaging tool brings core class work off the paper into real life application. Basic math and engineering classes just got upgraded for the mobile generation. - See more at:
    SPRK Lessons 

    The lessons in the SPRK program teach math, psysics, and computer science concepts using hands-on, engaging activities with Sphero.  Students work in small groups to write computer programs that control how the Sphero rolls and appears.  These lessons are designed for 4th and 5th graders and take approximately one hour to complete.

    The lessons start with a an introduction and then list the Common Core Math Standards that are relevant to the lessons.  They contain a teacher guide, a student guide, and a worksheet.
    Images Courtesy Of SPRK Lesson 1

    The first lesson on measuring distance asks students to experiment measuring speed and distance using the Sphero robot ball and a piece of tape on the floor. Using easy to follow step by step directions, the students will use both experimentation and math to learn about linear relationships and the fact that when something travels twice as long at the same speed, it will travel twice as far.  

    Relationships such as this are much easier for students to learn when they actually experiment with it in a hands-on fashion.  Using Sphero helps control the environment, as students can be assured of the distance and speeds being traveled using the robot ball's macros.

    What I like about Sphero

    Some of the features of Sphero that I find most appealing are:

    • No charging cables, which can often overwhelm classroom space
    • It's waterproof, and durable enough for your pets to play with
    • The lessons provided within SPRK are aligned to the common core
    • multiple players can interact using multiple Spheros during the same game
    • Sphero loves creativity. Currently you can win a Sphero and an iPad for your classroom from Sphero for sharing your creative classroom. Click here to learn more
    • Sphero is also an amazing gaming device
    Sphero and Gaming: Outside of the Classroom (just for fun)

    Beyond a teaching device, Sphero is also an exciting interactive gaming device.  Kids and adults both can have hours of fun paying games such as NYAN Cat Space Party and The Rolling Dead (young adult), both are previewed below.

    Nyan Cat Space Party

    The Rolling Dead

    Check Sphero out for yourself by clicking here!

    Don't forget about their creative classroom contest, learn more here.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Interactive Language Arts Practice From @IXLLearning for Grades 2-5

    Online Language Arts Support for Grades 2-5

    - click here to try IXL - 

    I've been using IXL Math for the past year with my own two children, Jacob (6) and Riley (9).  As a parent, I love how organized the site is to use.  As a user both in the classroom and at home, I am very excited to have recently found that the ground-breaking technology that makes IXL the most widely-used math practice program has expanded to include English language arts.  As students' abilities in grammar and vocabulary grow, ICL matches question difficulty so they are challenged to learn more.  Whether they're selecting sentence subjects, editing verb tenses, or any other 2nd-5th grade language arts skill, students end up at mastery.  You can click here to see how great it is!

    When IXL contacted me about being a sponsor, I couldn't be more excited.  I had used their site in the past as a teacher and loved it.  Because I believed in their product, I agreed to partner with them.  I receive several emails a day for sponsor requests, but I have to be very selective with who I decide to partner with for Kleinspiration.  I must stay true to my readers and only share quality resources that I stand behind.  Though I share many resources on my blog, I only honor long-standing partnerships with companies that I feel great about.  I believe that is why my long-standing partnerships continue to grow into trusting relationships.  Because I hand-pick my sponsors, I fully support them in the fullest.  I've met with most of them in person, had dinner with them, traveled across the country to visit them, used them with my own children and in my classroom, and I continue chat with them all of the time.  My sponsors truly are my friends.  I only endorse companies I firmly believe in for education.

    My Kids Love to Practice & Earn Virtual Awards

    Both the language arts and math programs within IXL provide students with an easy to understand operating system that allows them to easily navigate to a topic and provide their answers.


    As my children practice more, they receive more treasures to discover in IXL.  You should see Jacob's face light up when he's earned a new award.  Though I am a firm believer in intrinsic motivation, there is something that my kids enjoy about these virtual awards.  They view them as goodies within their 'game.'  It reminds me of when they go to the Mushroom House on Mario to gain items for their characters.  They go crazy over these little treasures.

    I Can See Exactly What My Kids Need
    Signing into my parent account allows me to see a number of items related specifically to my child.  I can see how long they've practiced, where they excel, and where they need additional support.  The reports are beautiful, easy to read, and offer so much insight into my child's learning.

    Know What You Need & Master the Skills

    Because IXL identifies the "Trouble Spots" in your child's learning, you can target those areas so your child can grow.  I love that I can look in my kids' reports and determine what areas they should continue working on in the program.  The best part is that I don't have to determine this by myself.  The reports automatically identify the skills my children need.  This way, we can click on those specific target areas and allow for more practice.  I've found that my kids do not mind the additional practice because the more they work on a specific skill, the easier the questions become.  Initially, they were frustrated but that is because the questions were challenging - hence why they needed the additional support.  Plus, the more they have success with the program, the more virtual awards they earn.  They love this part!

    See for Yourself & Connect with IXL

    Please click here and get started exploring IXL 

    You can click here to follow IXL on Twitter, too. 



    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Build a Solid Stem with @Science4UsSays: K-2 Online, Interactive Science

    Science4Us: Online, Interactive, Standards Based

    - Kleinspiration readers are invited to... click here to sign up and try it FREE for 60 days - 
    In my opinion, science is a subject that becomes much more interesting when brought to life in sound, picture, and video.  Even back before there was an internet, folks like Jacques Cousteu and National Geographic were common household names that brought science right into our living rooms.  Children and adults alike were often captivated by wonders of science and nature in a way that was much more engaging on their television shows than traditional teaching methods.  And now, as technology takes on a bigger role in learning, the wonders of science are discovering new platforms in which to reach students.

    When Science4Us contacted me about being a sponsor, I was quite intrigued.  I had not previously used their site but I was very familiar with another site created by their team, VocabularySpellingCity.  I knew that they has recently been awarded Top Classroom & Homeschool Product of 2013 from Educents, which is quite an honor.  Since I had previously had great experiences with Spelling City, and had been looking for a science resource, I agreed check out Science4Us.  It didn't take long to realize that I had just stumbled upon something amazing.

    Science4Us: Overview

    Science4Us is a comprehensive web-based digital science curriculum for elementary students that includes all of the components necessary for teachers and parents to provide an exemplary science experience for all learners. It is standards based using the inquiry-based 5E Instructional Model.

    Each module follows the same 5E structure. The first three E’s; Engage, Explore and Explain, are each represented by an online activity as well as an offline activity, followed by multiple Elaborate activities designed to provide cross-curricular opportunities for students to extend and broaden their knowledge and understanding through new experiences. Finally each module includes an interactive Evaluate to assess student learning gains.

    Science4Us: How It Works

    Science4Us recognizes that not all classrooms are created equally. As such, the curriculum is designed to be flexible in nature and able to meet the needs of individual classrooms without adding additional software. Teachers can implement the curriculum using one computer for a whole group lesson or several computers for small group instruction. Also, because Science4us is web-based, students can access Science4Us individually in a media center or even at home on the family computer.


    Science4Us: Math & Literacy Integration

    Use science content as your vehicle to teach literacy skills. Download literacy skills worksheets customized to each module within the lesson plans, as you plan your lessons for the week, or access a library of activities that you can customize to your classroom.

    Science4Us: Teacher Resources

    Just as students have been far removed from science for so long, so have the teachers who are supposed to find a way to squeeze science into their class time! And that’s why part of the mission of Science4Us is to provide a curriculum that increases teachers’ comfort with AND commitment to teaching science.

    The Science4Us lesson plans are a one stop resource for preparing for your science class time. The lesson plans include activity previews, a suggested sequence for the activities, an approximate time-frame for each session, details about the objectives of each activity and informative videos.

    Exclusive Give-Away for Kleinspiration Readers!

    To help kick off the partnership, Science4Us is offering a limited opportunity to Kleinspiration readers to extend their 60 day free trial to a 6 month membership, for free.  Just click below and provide the necessary information to open a 60 day trial, and you'll be automatically entered.  Good luck!

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

    Professional Opportunities for Educators in 2014

    MACUL Pre-K - 12 Michigan Teacher of the Year

    Special Offer for Kleinspiration Readers:

    Where are you going this summer? Join me and 1,000’s of educators at SDE’s National PD Conferences. Come see me present and be sure use my personal VIP code of EK10 to receive my partner discount of 10% your registration at any of these 7 events. Learn more and register at

    2014 has been fantastic so far!  January kicked off with a boom!!  I was able to travel to Mississippi, North Carolina, and several locations around Michigan for wonderful learning opportunities to connect and share.  If you're a Michigan educator, be sure to mark your 2015 calendars for the MI Flip Conference and EdCamp Lansing.  In March, I had the pleasure of attending two of my favorite conferences, MACUL and ASCD.  

    Each year in March, MACUL hosts their annual conference.  MACUL stands for Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning.  This year, over four thousand educators gathered in Grand Rapids for the largest MACUL conference to date.

    This conference is especially beneficial for me because I get to connect to so many amazing teachers right in my home state.  I love meeting those who share the same passion for creativity in the classroom that I have.  We attend sessions together, exchange ideas over lunch, get to know one another at social events, and continue to stay connected via social media after the conference comes to a close.  These new friendships strengthen as we visit each other's classrooms and schedule meet-ups to plan collaborative projects and connect our students to flatten our walls.  This year, I was awarded the 2014 Pre-K - 12 MACUL Teacher of the Year Award.  What an honor!  Thank you to everyone for your support, nominations, and judging.  

    After MACUL, I flew out the next day to Los Angeles for the annual ASCD conference.  I was excited to be a part of the media and cover the event through various social media channels so that others could experience the conference who were not able to attend live.  

    As part of the media, I was also able to meet several of ASCD's authors in the press room and meet with some of the nation's leading professionals during press events.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening the the three keynote presenters: Dan Pink, Russell Quaglia, and Sir Ken Robinson.  This conference always ignites my passion for what I do in the classroom.  Next year, ASCD will be held in Huston, Texas.  

    NETA: April 24 - 25 (2014) Nebraska
    In a few weeks, on April 24th, I will fly to Nebraska to keynote their annual state technology conference, NETA: 2014 Mission Possible.  I am looking forward to being a part of this conference.  There are so many sessions with a variety of topics.  Not only will I be presenting, but I'll also get the opportunity to connect with several educators across the country.  I couldn't be more excited about the ideas I'll be able to bring back to my own classroom.  

    For those interested in attending this opportunity, you can register on-site the day of the conference.  Online registration has closed, but it is not too late to attend.  Please click here to find out more about this conference.  

    Connected Educators: Jackson, MI April 26, 2014
    Right after Nebraska, I'm going to try to make it to the Connected Educators unConference in Michigan.  I was a featured presenter at this conference last year, and it was quite the experience.  I loved the small nature yet big impact the conference displayed.  I was able to attend some cutting-edge sessions with practical ideas to bring right back to my second grade practice.  I couldn't have been happier!  

    I highly recommend signing up for this conference.  The registration cost is very affordable for this one day event.  You can click here to see more about this day of learning.  

    EdCamp Detroit: May 3, 2014 Detroit, MI
    The EdCamp unConferences are one of a kind.  They started by an idea that the talented Kristen Swanson had to allow educators to shape they type of conference they needed most.  For any EdCamp unConference, there is no registration fee.  They are free for everyone.  There also it not a pre-determined schedule.  The schedule is made by the participants that attend.  This way, everyone gets exactly what they want out of the conference.  

    I am one of the organizers for the EdCamp Detroit conference.  We would love to have you join us this May.  You will not find formal presentations but rather genuine conversations sparked by teachers supporting one another.  The ideas and resources shared will be ones you can take directly back to your school and use the next day.  Prepare to be inspired and get connected!

    EdCamp U.S. Dept. of Education: June 6, 2014 Washington D.C. 
    On June 6, educators and policy makers will meet to discuss important issues in education.  While this event is sold out, the hashtag for the event will be one to follow.  Simply join the conference virtually via the hashtag #EdCampUSA 

    This event is hosted by the Edcamp Foundation and the United States Department of Education.  The conversations will focus on finding actionable solutions and answering tough, asset-based questions.  

    You can click here to read more about Edcamp USA.  Be sure to follow #EdcampUSA on June 6th.

    ISTE: June 28 - July 1 (2014) Atlanta, GA
    My absolute favorite conference each year is ISTE, International Society for Technology in Education.  My first ISTE was in San Diego two years ago.  Then I went to San Antonio.  This year, I am thrilled to attend in Atlanta.  

    Part of what makes this conference so magical is the people that attend.  I believe there are roughly twenty thousand individuals who attend each year.  Regardless of the exact number, one thing is for sure... the relationships I've established with passionate educators has changed my life.  Seriously.  

    I consider several people in my personal learning network to be close friends of mine.  However, after collaborating  with these people for years, there is something about meeting them in person that serves as the match for these relationships.  Something ignites between the two of you and the best of friendships are formed.  I feel blessed to have connected with these special friends.  This year, I am overjoyed to have four sessions at ISTE with some of my best friends.  

    You can go ahead and set up your planner for ISTE once you've registered.  We'd love to have you join one of our sessions; they're pictured below for you to see.  Some sessions do tend to fill up quickly, so early registration is encouraged.  

    My ISTE 2014 Sessions: I'd love to have you join!

    Each year, I will return to ISTE not only for the overwhelming and incredible learning experience but most importantly the opportunity to refuel my spirit for what I love to do and connect with those around the world that I truly love and admire so much.  

    National SDE: July 7 - 11 (2014) Las Vegas, NV
    This will be my first year as a featured presenter for the SDE Vegas conferences.  I had the pleasure of presenting for SDE at the National Extraordinary Educator's Conference in Chicago this past July, but this will be my first time attending and presenting their Vegas conferences.  I've heard so many wonderful things about this event.  From what I've seen so far... I am BLOWN away!  

    In effort to not get confused about the conferences and events, I'll do my best to explain the schedule. There are 4 conferences and a pre-conference.  I recommend downloading the conference brochures for each conference you're interested in attending.  These brochures are really nicely done and really share a lot about the sessions that will be offered and show the speakers that will be at each event.  
    1. Pre-Conference: Power Up (click here)*
    2. I Teach K (click here)
    3. I Teach 1st (click here)*
    4. Singapore Math Strategies (click here)
    5. Differentiated Instruction (click here)*
    I am presenting at three of the conferences.  I've placed a * by the ones I'll be attending.  I have twelve sessions over three days.  I'll be presenting four sessions at each of the following conferences: Power Up, I Teach 1st, and Differentiated Instruction.  When I'm not presenting, I plan on attending as many sessions as possible.  Below are some of the amazing people who will be in Vegas for the National SDE Conferences.

    Pre-Conference: Power Up: view sessions - click here (I'll be here on Monday the 7th)

    I Teach K: view sessions - click here

    I Teach 1st: view sessions - click here (I'll be here on Wednesday the 9th

    Differentiated Instruction: view sessions - click here (I'll be here on Tuesday the 8th

    BLC: July 16 - 18 (2014) Boston, MA
    This will be my first year attending and presenting at the Building Learning Communities Conference hosted by Alan November.  I've heard fantastic remarks from those who have attended.  Being a part of this conference has been on my list for years.  

    Alan November personally selects each presenter.  The sessions will "impart vivid possibilities and practical solutions."  You can click here to see the full list of speakers for this event.  

    Miami Device: November 6 - 7 (2014) Miami, FL 

    *Early Bird Registration is NOW - April 16: click here to receive your registration discount!

    I was asked to be a part of Miami Device earlier this year and I didn't hesitate to accept.  As a fellow Michigan girl, I can't wait to escape November temperatures and head to south Florida this fall.  Besides the weather and location, I was shocked when I heard who else the conference was having as presenters.  I am honored to be in such talented company.

    This event is sure to be an unforgettable learning experience.  I can't wait!  They have so many sessions scheduled that everyone is sure to find something to fit their need.  

    I remember my first year of teaching I was able to attend a session by Miami Device keynote, Tony Vincent.  It changed the way I viewed technology in the classroom.  Tony shared easy ways to integrate technology in meaningful ways for students.  Honestly, his session is one that gave me the confidence to believe I could teach with tech.  Before, I use to think I had to "know everything."  Tony shared several student examples and modeled how he did lessons.  This made me realize that learning isn't just for the students, but it is for the entire classroom community: teacher and student.  

    Come join me this November in Miami...  Now until April 16th is Early Bird Registration

    What are some of your favorite conferences?
    If you are presenting or attending a great conference this year, please be sure to leave the information in the comments.  I would love to find out about more great opportunities.  Thanks!

    If you're attending any of the above conferences, please get in touch!  I'd love to connect with you face to face.  If you're on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or more... please click here to view my contact information for all of my social networks.  We can meet up and grab coffee or chat briefly in between sessions.  

    Thank you to the academy for your nomination for a Bammy Award:

    Elementary Teacher of the Year
    -click here to vote now- 

    Thank YOU for your vote and support!

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Breaking News: Today - @ClassDojo Launches a NEW Messaging Feature! #ChatWithDojo

    Introducing ClassDojo Messaging
    Simple, positive communication with parents :)

    A guest blog post by Sam Chaudhary, CEO and co-founder of ClassDojo

    Just over a week ago, we announced that teachers have awarded over 1 billion pieces of feedback on the ClassDojo platform. This is a great milestone for us, and for all the wonderful ClassDojo teachers: in just two years, they’ve encouraged students 1 billion times for wonderful behaviors and habits, like hard work, teamwork, curiosity, grit, and participation. We’d always hoped to help students grow through positive feedback, and while it is still early days, we are really pleased to see teachers using ClassDojo to do that!

    Our team’s mission is to connect teachers, parents and students to help students develop the behaviors they’ll need for success in school, and in life. The current version of ClassDojo being used by millions of teachers and students around the world was a good step towards that: by helping teachers improve behavior in their classrooms, teachers were helping students build these positive behaviors and character strengths at school. However, to really create change - as every teacher knows - school isn’t enough: we have to go beyond the walls of the classroom, to the home. And, we heard it loud and clear from our teacher friends: they knew, and research supports their view, that students perform better and learn faster when parents and teachers communicate more regularly.

    Anyone who knows the ClassDojo team knows that we love teacher feedback, and take it very seriously. From day one, our team has been focused on helping teachers, parents and students solve the most pressing problems they face. ClassDojo has been built with thousands of conversations, Skype calls, Google Hangouts and classroom visits. So, we listened carefully when we found the teachers we spoke to were frustrated that there were no good existing solutions to easily and quickly engage parents beyond the classroom. After interviewing scores of teachers, we discovered almost all of them were looking for a simple yet powerful communication tool that would help them easily engage parents in a positive way. Teachers also had nuanced needs around simplicity and privacy - and above all, wanted to have easy, meaningful, positive interactions with parents. We set out to solve that problem on ClassDojo.

    Today, we’re incredibly excited to announce a new feature: ClassDojo Messaging. ClassDojo Messaging - available on the ClassDojo iOS and Android apps - is the simplest, easiest way for teachers and parents to meaningfully communicate about students. There are two types of messages that teachers will be able to begin using immediately: ‘Broadcasts’ and ‘Direct Messages’: 
    • ‘Broadcast’ messages enable a teacher to quickly and easily send a message to all parents for any class. 
    • ‘Direct’ or ‘Private’ messages allows teachers and parents to message privately, keeping parents engaged and in the know.

    There are a number of carefully designed features we’ve built into ClassDojo Messaging, but after having tested it with about 40 beta testers, we think there are two things in particular that we think you’ll love.

    Firstly, we’ve included “Read Receipts” for all messages. These are essentially acknowledgements to teachers, that let them know when parents have seen or read a message. For teachers currently using emails, SMS, or even handwritten notes to communicate with parents, this should be really useful: no more wondering who’s received your message - you can now see that at a glance!

    Secondly, we know that teachers and parents sometimes don’t like to share their contact details, like cell phone numbers and email addresses. With ClassDojo Messaging, teachers and parents don’t need to share any contact details: teachers simply provide parents with a unique parent code, and then they can easily begin to communicate via ClassDojo Messaging.

    I hope that you’ll try out ClassDojo Messaging (even if you don’t use ClassDojo for giving students feedback): Messaging actually works without needing you to award positive behavior. The whole team is really excited about the meaningful conversations teachers and parents say they are now having because of this new feature — ones that were not possible or easy on other tools or in other contexts. These types of conversations will inevitably reduce the gap between the home and the school, helping students succeed in both environments!

    To all Kleinspiration readers: find out more about ClassDojo Messaging, and get it now, by going to: !

    Sam Chaudhary
    Follow us: @ClassDojo on Twitter
    Read more from Sam and ClassDojo at