Friday, July 25, 2014

Check out the NEW site: ClassroomCribs AND see How-To Set Up Brain-Friendly, Beautiful Learning Spaces!

Free Classroom Design Webinar:

I would love for you to join me on Tuesday, July 29th at 3pm ET for a free webinar all on setting up your classroom learning space.  Prior to going into teaching, I studied Interior Design.   Paying close attention to how we set up our spaces is very important.  We must take into account the children when determining so many components that go into designing our spaces.  You're invited to sign up for free and attend this webinar.  I hope to see you there!  

Check Out the NEW Site Classroom Cribs:

Also, I invite you to check out a project I'm working on with two of my dear friends, A.J. Juliani and Ben Gilpin.  Both individuals have lot of experience in establishing smart design for learning spaces.  We've launched a brand NEW site,  Be sure to click here and check out the challenge we've created.  

How to get signed up?
Today is the preview of the ClassroomCribs site.  We are still in the works of putting the final pieces together.  Our goal is to launch this Tuesday, in conjunction with the design webinar I'm hosting.  

In order to get the latest, we'd love for you to simply go to and click on the orange box ("Learn More About Classroom Design").  Then, enter your email into the box.  That's it! 

We also hope you scroll down and browse the page.  Consider submitting your content video to be highlighted on ClassroomCribs!  We can't wait to show off your smart design!!

Our hope is to encourage teachers to design with intention.  We look forward to showcasing teachers who really highlight smart design in their rooms by thinking about how the space will enhance student learning.  If you're working on designing your classroom this summer, be sure to check out our site as a resource and even share your ideas!

We also encourage you to share your design ideas on all social media sites (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more... by using the hashtag #ClassroomCribs).  In other words, every time you share a photo of setting up your classroom or learning space, be sure to use the #ClassroomCribs tag so your space can be seen! 

Summer Learning Series:

My best friend, Todd Nesloney, will start this year as a new principal.  I'm so proud of him and all he's accomplished!  This summer, he launched a Summer Learning Series for anyone to join.  Each week, he sends out challenges to encourage his faculty and teachers around the world to connect, grow, and share together.  The response he's received has been nothing short of overwhelming.  This week, his challenge is focused on classroom design.  Check out the video below for more information, and you can click here to see all of his challenges.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ClassDojo is now school-wide!

Hey Kleinspiration readers!

Manoj here from ClassDojo :)

Since 2011, millions of teachers around the world have used ClassDojo to save time and teach important behaviors like curiosity, grit, and helping others. And because teachers are so innovative, you've found really unique ways to work closer as grade-level teams or even across a school with ClassDojo — even though we never built the features to make it possible! From sharing the same login to printing out student reports and discussing them in teacher lounges, we've heard it all :)

Today, I'm excited to share with you new features that make using ClassDojo across an entire grade-level or school a lot easier! For the first time, you’ll be able to connect with other teachers in your school to teach classes together, share student rosters, and track your students’ progress across all their different classes! Using ClassDojo school-wide has been by far and away the most requested feature from teachers, so we hope that it makes a huge impact in your schools!

Read more details about these new features on the ClassDojo Community Forum!

We hope you love what we’re launching today, and we’d love your feedback! Feel free to tweet at me (@mklamba or @ClassDojo) or email our Teacher Support Team at :)

Enjoy the rest of your summers!

Manoj and the ClassDojo team

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stitch Fix: The Perfect Way to Shop for Busy Teachers!

I Went from Being Skeptical to Falling in Love
- click here to start and fill out your style profile

I've contemplated about sharing about this service on my blog for a few reasons.  First, this is a resource sharing blog.  Second, it is an education blog.  Third, I'd be pushing my referral link.  Well, after receiving my second shipment of items, I decided to rethink the idea of sharing this on my site.  Because this is a resource sharing site, I'd like to share this great resource with all of you.  Additionally, since teachers are often busy (and it is REALLY difficult to shop with our own children), I thought it would be a perfect idea to share.  Lastly, while I will share my referral link, you do not have to use it.  Granted, it would be super cool if you did; however, that is not why I am sharing this with you.  For full disclosure, I do receive a $25 credit for each friend that uses my referral link.  I'm sharing this with you because I simply think it is a wonderful idea that you, too, could benefit from and enjoy.  

When my dear friend, Maria (from KinderCraze), shared Stitch Fix with me, I was skeptical.  However, she swore by it.  I kept seeing her photos on Instagram.  She always looked adorable!  Plus, she wasn't "some blogger I followed."  She was a friend right here in Michigan.  I had a level of trust that really helped me decide to give this thing a try.  Besides, it was only $20 to get started.  If it was as great as she claimed, it would be worth it in the end.  --- boy, was she right!

What is Stitch Fix?
It's an online service that pairs you with a personal stylist.  You can click here to see more.  

How do you get started?
You simply click here and set up an account.  You'll need to plan to have about 10-20 minutes because you will have to fill out your personal profile.  You will be asked questions about your style and design taste.  You will also need to plug in your sizes and measurements.  It is a simple and fun process.  You will also need to be prepared with your credit card information because there is a $20 fee to get started.  When you receive your first package, you will have that $20 credited towards the items you decide to keep.  

Something good to know...
Your first "fix" takes a while to receive.  I believe mine took about six weeks.  However, my second one arrived just three weeks later.  Now, I can set the frequency for delivered packages.  They will come as often or as little as I like.

It's super easy to return what you don't like.
Inside your box is a return bag that is pre-paid for postage.  Try on what you like and keep it.  Place the items you wish to return in the bag and mail back.  Go online and "check out" the items that you're keeping.  You'll get to make comments about the items you're returning so your stylist gets a better idea of what you like. 

What I love most:
It is fun to receive packages of new clothes in the mail.  It was very simple to set up and get started.  I love that the styles and patterns are something I may not pick up to try on in a store.  However, when I try them on at home from Stitch Fix, I love them!  My favorite part is that I've found two pair of pants from Stitch Fix that I absolutely love.  I am very picky when it comes to jeans.  Somehow, these fit just right.  I couldn't be happier!

Friday, July 4, 2014

6 Conferences In 5 Days at #SDEevents for Educators This Summer in Vegas!

SDE National Education Conference - Vegas 2014

I'm excited to travel to Las Vegas this weekend to spend the week with some of the most energizing and inspiring teachers across the country.  SDE hosts a series of six conferences between July 7 - 11.  Teachers, technology enthusiast, and administrators will gather to attend custom sessions that meet their specific interests.  

Over the past year, I've enjoyed being a consultant with SDE and traveling the country to connect with classroom teachers.  What I love about their workshops is the style of each session.  They're not your lecture based format.  Teachers can expect to interact with the session facilitators, gain practical ideas to bring back to their classrooms, and interact with fellow participants during the session.  

Let's Connect in Vegas!

I'm leading 12 sessions over three days for the following conferences: Power Up, Differentiated Instruction, and I Teach 1st.  I'd love to meet up with you and share the work my kids are doing.  

Helpful Tips to Stay Connected:
  • Regardless your social network, follow the hashtag: #SDEevents
  • Follow SDE on Twitter: here
  • Follow me on Twitter: here
  • Follow me on Instagram: here 
  • Share your pictures, thoughts, and interactions - don't forget to tag #SDEevents via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and more!
Download the conference apps!  Available in multiple formats for various devices - click here!

Tuesday: July 8 - Join Twitter Talk with Matt Gomez from 7:45am - 8:15am

Wednesday: July 9 - Join the Pinterest Party with Heidi Butkus from 4:15pm - 4:45pm

Wednesday: July 9 - Join the Teacher-Blogger Meet Up at 6:30pm - click here to see more!

My Sessions... Monday - July 7

*Don't miss the awesome keynote by my best friend and fabulous presenter, Kyle Pace at 8:20am!

9:30 - 10:45 PA02 Inspire Your Students to Read, Write, Listen & Speak with Digital Stories (Gr. K–3)
Equip and empower your students with the skills they need to plan, express, share, and communicate their ideas with digital stories! Learn fresh, new ideas for creating digital stories. Go beyond the narrative and get your students excited about creating presentations, explanatory and informational pieces, and collaborative projects—all through digital stories. Erin offers tools for meeting the Common Core by integrating technology into your instruction and building the digital media skills of your young learners. Please bring your laptop and/or iPad®.

 11:00 - 12:15 PA06 Tiny Tech Tips for Integrating Informational Writing & Texts (Gr. K–3) HO
Our students live in an exciting time in which information isn’t solely from thick textbooks but rather from websites, blogs, and magazines. In this session, discover how to introduce your little ones to print‐rich materials and digital media to shape an authentic learning experience. Erin shares how to integrate cross‐curricular themes into your content areas rather than teach them in isolation. By doing so, you’ll make connections between literacy, social studies, and science that engage your young learners at a much higher level.

1:45 - 3:00 PB02 More FUN Please! Math Centers & Games with a Tech Twist (Gr. K–3) HO
Make learning independent, hands‐on, and lots of FUN for your students and watch their mathematical thinking and problem solving take off! Explore how to add technology to your centers to address multiple learning levels and needs and free up your time for small‐group instruction. Discover ready‐to‐use games to support the 8 Mathematical Practices of the Common Core AND reinforce your math curriculum. Erin also offers tips and secrets for creating self‐directed learners and designing activities for math practice and remediation. 

3:15 - 4:30 PB07 Tech Interventions that Work for Struggling Readers (Gr. K–6) BYOD
Looking for new and better ways to support your students who need extra help? Have you tried technology? It works! Erin shares the how‐to’s of interventions proven to work with today’s learners. Leave with a toolbox chock‐full of technology tools and strong instructional practices that’ll help you meet the needs of every struggling reader with ease. Please bring your laptop and/or iPad®.

My Sessions... Tuesday - July 8

*Don't miss Twitter Talk with Matt at 7:45am!

9:00 - 10:15 DA12 Project‐Based Learning: A Great Way to Differentiate (Gr. K–3)
Make learning real for your students while building higher‐order thinking skills and encouraging leadership and responsibility. Erin shows you how to get your students engaged and motivated in learning. This session is packed with ideas to help you make inquiry‐based learning manageable with flexible, self‐directed projects you and your students will love.

10:45 - 12:00 DA27 Writer’s Workshop: Get on Board the Common Core Express (Gr. K–2)
Engage your students in collaborative projects that are aligned to the Common Core and teach writing as a process. In this session, Erin shares Writer’s Workshop projects from her own classroom along with specific strategies for making the workshop model work in yours. You really CAN bring students to a higher level and encourage critical thinking while keeping learning fun and stress‐free!

1:30 - 2:45 DB11 Close Read: Modeling a Lesson (Gr. K–2) HO
You can’t get your students to read text one time. How will you get them to read it more than once? In this hands‐on session, experience how to conduct a close reading lesson with your students. Review how to model a close reading of a text that uncovers the layers of meaning that lead your little ones to deep comprehension.

3:15 - 4:30 DB25 Magical Math: Creating a Playground of Innovation (Gr. K–2) BYOD
Create an innovative playground where students have math‐a‐magical fun working on math skills in exciting lessons that meet their specific needs. In this highly interactive session, walk through the process of organizing your favorite resources into engaging lessons aligned with
the Common Core. See how to set up learners to navigate lessons independently or with partners. Lastly, uncover two amazing tools that will transform the way you gather content, plan your lessons, and deliver the information. Please bring your own iPad® or other device. 

My Sessions... Wednesday - July 9 

*Don't miss the Pinterest Party with Heidi Butkus at 4:15pm!

*Let's also connect at the Blogger Meet Up (Titian 2201) Venetian #VegasMeetUp

8:30 - 9:45 FE02 Magical Math: Creating a Playground of Innovation
Create an innovative playground where students have math-a- magical fun solving problems and working on math skills in exciting lessons that meet their specific needs. In this highly interactive ses- sion, walk through the process of organizing your favorite resources into engaging lessons aligned with the Common Core. See how to set up learners to navigate lessons independently or with partners. Lastly, uncover two amazing tools that will transform the way you gather content, plan your lessons, and deliver the information.

10:15 - 11:30 FE10 Writer’s Workshop: Get on Board the Common Core Express
Engage your first graders in collaborative projects that are aligned
to the Common Core and teach writing as a process. In this session, Erin shares Writer’s Workshop projects from her own classroom along with specific strategies for making the workshop model work in yours. You really CAN bring students to a higher level and encourage critical thinking while keeping learning fun and stress-free!

1:00 - 2:15 FF02 Technology & Centers: Getting the Max with Minimum Resources!
Make the most of your teaching time while differentiating your centers—with technology! Erin shares how all you need is a single iPad® and a few gadgets to flip your instruction and offer students the most teacher support in the short time you have. You’ll love these creative teaching ideas—especially if you do Daily 5, centers, and workstations.

2:45 - 4:00 FF10 Helping Young Brains Think with Graphic Organizers
Encourage higher levels of thinking with graphic organizers. Learn how to help your first graders better organize content and concepts visually. Plus, Erin demonstrates how to use these organizers to promote writing across the curriculum.

Download Each Brochure! 
Visit the SDE Homepage!
  • See all six National Vegas Conferences - click here
My Social Networks...
Connect with Some of My Favorite Educational Partners:
*Disclaimer: The following sites are sponsors of Kleinspiration.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reflections from #iste2014 in Atlanta: Relationships are Key!

Genius Hour Panel: @coolcatteacher, @donwettrick, @angelamaiers,
@kleinerin, @klirenman,  @smartinez, @hughtheteacher

ISTE 2014 - Atlanta, Georgia

This is my third year attending ISTE.  Each time I've been, it is the people that keep me coming back.  There's something about the real connections you make with each person while attending such engaging and enriching sessions.  The meaningful conversations taking place in the Blogger's Cafe and the walks across the convention center with friends are some of the best parts of the conference for me.  Sure, the sessions are wonderful.  Who can deny that Adam Bellow's Tech Commandments are anything less than earth shattering.  Truly.  I do not state that lightly.  However, for me... it's so much more than the sessions.  It's the sessions + the connections that set ISTE apart from other conferences.  Where else can you find so many influential and positive difference makers all in one space?

The Tomorrow Toolkit: @kylepace, @adambellow, @michellek107, @kleinerin
I believe that you get out what you put into an experience.  Because I plan so much before ISTE, I do feel as though I get a lot out of the conference.  However, this year was a bit unique compared to the other two years I have attended.  I am not sure if it was the layout of the conference center or the fast pace of each day, but something was different.  Nevertheless, I did have a wonderful experience and take away many fond memories.

The city of Atlanta was pretty, and I was fortunate enough to share the overall experience with two of my dearest friends and ISTE 2014 roommates: Jennifer Bond and Ashlie Smith.  These two ladies are not only some of the greatest teachers in my eyes but also some of the most sincere and generous individuals I'm lucky enough to call friends.  

@teambond, @kleinerin, @smithsciencegms
I also feel so blessed to have the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful companies who are doing such amazing things to help shape and transform the educational landscape.  As a classroom teacher, I couldn't imagine not having the tool "Remind" to use with the parents of my students.  Luckily, I don't have to because innovators like Brett help to support educators across the country!

@kleinerin and @remindhq
Another highlight of the ISTE 2014 experience for me was being asked to participate in the Keynote Smackdown.  I was blown away and honored in simply being asked to give a four minute talk in front of the ISTE Affiliates during their pre-conference meetings.  It was a true pleasure connecting with such distinguished professionals.  

Keynote Smackdown Panel - ISTE 2014 
I'm so thankful for the opportunities that blogging and teaching has offered me in my profession.  This year I had several meetings set up with various companies to partner with, and I'm really excited to fly out to meet many of the companies and discuss these ventures further.  I was even asked to interview with many different organizations, which was a real honor.  I always enjoy sharing the work our students do.

Blog stalking is something I'm not afraid to admit.  I've been very open about the two individuals who have influenced my blogging career: Richard Byrne and Kelly Tenkely.  As a new teacher, I followed both Richard and Kelly for a while.  I tried to absorb all they had to offer.  I remember spending hours opening tabs for each of Richard's "super book recommendations."  As I began presenting and sharing, I knew I had to start archiving and pushing my resources in a public forum.  Long ago... it was Weebly.  However, after a few back and forth chats via email with Richard (ages ago), I was convinced to launch a blog... hence, Kleinspiration was born.  This year, I was able to meet Mr. Byrne for the first time.  Yes... I was a bit star struck (totally surprised and giddy when he agreed to meet up for coffee)!  

@kleinerin and @rmbyrne
My dear friend, Steven, invited me to be a member of a RoundTable discussion hosted by Promethean.  The panel was filled with thought leaders from across the country.  The discussion was dynamic and meaningful.  What a highlight of my ISTE experience!

RoundTable Panel with Promethean
Special moments that aren't planned also filled my days with memories that will last a lifetime.  I have best friends... those that live close by... and those that live far away.  However, no matter the distance, getting to spend time with such special people is always a joy.  This year, it was a true honor to follow in the footsteps of my best friend, Nick Provenzano, as the 2014 MACUL Teacher of the Year.  

@kleinerin and @thenerdyteacher
Other memories that were unplanned were seeing great friends in passing but making the time to stop and connect.  I'm always impressed by the work Eric Sheninger does.  He never seems to amaze me.  I expect great things from him... and he always delivers.  A true mentor.  Over the past two years, Eric and I have had the opportunity to connect and collaborate on a number of projects.  I can't begin to express how thankful I am for all I've learned from his experience and knowledge.  I continue to be so proud of all of his accomplishments and all he shares with for everyone to learn from. 

@kleinerin and @nmhs_principal 
One of my favorite people in the world is Jimmy Casas.  We had the pleasure of connecting last year at ISTE in San Antonio and instantly became best friends.  I've never met someone as caring and positive in my life.  I've never heard Jimmy say a negative remark or act in a selfish manner.  He has a heart of gold, and I try each day to be more like him.  

@kleinerin and @casas_jimmy
Taking moments to slow down are vitally important at conferences like ISTE.  There were days I realized I had not eaten lunch nor dinner.  Yikes!  It is important to schedule time to maintain a healthy balance.  Granted I planned for meetings, interviews, presentations, and socials; however, I didn't actually schedule time for me (for eating!).  So, I was forever excited when a few of my best friends found time to meet me for a quiet and relaxing dinner at the ever delicious Ruth Chris.  

Dinner with my best friends - Atlanta 2014
ISTE is about the learning experiences.  Whether it happens through great conversations in passing or during sessions, I always come back with so many inspiring ideas!  Even sitting in sessions with such creative and passionate friends helps to spark such great dialogue during the presentations.  Surround yourself with greatness!

ISTE 2014 session to hear @adambellow and @teach42 
This post wouldn't be the same without mentioning my best friends... Drew, Brad, and Todd!  Throughout the past year, we've gotten to be so close.  I've learned so much from them and continue to be inspired by their passion and dedication to education.  Sadly, we didn't all four get a #superfriends photo this year.  So, Mr. Minock will have to represent!

@kleinerin and @techminock 
This is the first year I've done a poster session.  Wow - talk about 2 hours that FLY by!  What an amazing experience!!  Jennifer Uhl, Ashlie Smith, and myself shared about how we use augmented reality in the classroom at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  It was a blast sharing examples of the creative work our kids do each day in the classroom.  

Poster Session: Augmented Reality
Three years ago, ISTE introduced the Ignite session format to their conference.  Presenters were invited to submit a proposal for giving a five minute session of twenty slides.  The slides would auto-advance every fifteen seconds.  Of course, this type of format is a bit nerve racking considering each presenter has limited control over their timing as the session is live.  Three years ago, I applied and was accepted.  Last year, though nervous, decided to give it another go.  I was accepted.  So, naturally, year three, I had to apply again.  It's been a true honor to give an Ignite presentation each year at ISTE.  These sessions scare the daylights out of me, and that is exactly why I apply each year. I think it is important to push yourself and continue to step out of your comfort zone.  How else will we continue to grow?  How can we expect our students to take risks if we aren't prepared to do so ourselves?

Erin Klein: Ignite Session - ISTE 2014
Thanks to the amazing Amber Teamann, we were even able to enjoy a Brave's game while visiting the conference.  We had a wonderful group of friends gathered at the sporting event watching.  Thanks for setting this memorable event up, Amber!

Baseball Fun with Amazing Friends!
Each year ISTE brings you closer to those new friends you've connected with throughout the year on social media and online via other professional platforms.  

Dinner with Inspiring Educators and Dear Friends
In years past, I've been blessed to strengthen bonds with such amazing friends like Joan Young, Shannon Miller, and Lisa Dabbs.  This year, I didn't see those amazing friends.  However, I did see three of my dear friends: Kyle Pace, Adam Bellow, and Michelle Baldwin.  I love connecting, sharing, and presenting with these amazing friends.  

@kleinerin and @thomascmurray
I also love cultivating new relationships.  This year, I feel honored to have connected with a great friend: Tom Murray and make two new friends: Jeff Charbonneau and James Sanders.  I look forward to seeing what sorts of collaboration these new friendships will bring.  I know when you bring creative minds together, great things can happen for kids!  I also wanted to take a moment and publicly thank Jeff for the mention in his closing keynote.  I truly appreciate your kind words regarding my passion and love for teaching.  Honored beyond words!

Closing Keynotes 2013 and 2014 - ISTE
Whether in the classroom or in life, we all benefit from the strong relationships and connections we build with one another.  That is what it is about.  For me, ISTE bridges the learning with the connecting.  I love having a network of inspiring professionals that I can reach out to in order to continue to grow and learn so that I can bring the best to my students.  They deserve my best.  

Thank you Jeff for these closing words...

My friends are my family!
Photo Credit: the beautiful Jenna Shaw