Sunday, July 31, 2011

Twitter for Teachers!

Tweet Tweet Tweet

For me, Twitter has been such an amazing tool for professional development and getting connected to teachers all across the world.  I'm always amazed by the quality of resources that are shared along with the speed in which the most current information is delivered.  Twitter is, by far, my favorite way to network with others.  I started my Twitter account in 2009 and didn't start using it until 2011.  I now couldn't imagine not using it!

Why Use Twitter?

Twitter is like Facebook on steroids.  If you can imagine the stream of posts that you read on Facebook, multiply that by 100.  Then, consider all of those posts to be of high quality content - related specifically to education.  Wow - what a resource!

Here is a wonderful post by Chris Betcher on the powerful benefits of Twitter for educators.  I hope that you take the four minutes or so to read it and click around on some of the provided links.  I couldn't have summarized the benefits any better.  Thanks, Chris for the wonderful resource!

What's the difference between Facebook and Twitter?

Keep in mind that this is simply my opinion...  I think that any blogger should use both for cross-posting their content updates.  Doing so simply reaches a larger audience.  Having stated that, if you decide to use Facebook professionally, I would set up a different page for your blog.  I have my personal Facebook account for friends and family; however, I've set up (on the same account) an additional page in which I post updates for my blog, Kleinspiration.  

I think that Facebook, for most teachers, is more popular.  I think Twitter has more potential, professionally, but includes a slight learning curve due to the language and manner in which to post and interact.  Once you get the hang of it, Twitter is addicting and powerful!  For me, Facebook is simply more personal and Twitter is more professional.

Twitter Basics:

Setting up an Account

It's free.  Click Here.  Follow the 'new to Twitter, sign up' steps.

Once you set up an account, write down your username and password in a safe place.

When you tell others your username, include the '@' symbol.  For example, my Twitter name is @mimadisonklein

How to send a Tweet (post)

Once you login, you will see your 'home page.'  You can Tweet (type a message) in the white box, under 'what's happening.'  Be careful, you can only type 140 characters (letters/symbols/spaces).  You can type anything you'd like.  Most often, if I find a good website, like Teaching Blog Addict, I would Tweet the following message:

Teaching Blog Addict: great site for teachers (tons of resources and give-aways)

Symbols and Such:

RT = ReTweet
if you like something someone else already posted, you can further pass along their tweet by hovering your mouse cursor over their message... you will see a 'retweet' option - click it

@ = address (in my mind) yes, it stands for 'at'
if you'd like to reply, or to address, someone, you use the @ symbol... for example, if you'd like to address me on Twitter, in the white box (under 'what's happening' on your homepage) you would write: @mimadisonklein followed by your message or comment -- then, when I click on my @Mentions (right beside Timeline on my homepage on the left side) I can see who all has addressed me specifically.  Then, I can directly reply to them if necessary.  So, check your @Mentions often to see if anyone has specifically addressed you or mentioned you. Keep in mind - these are public - anyone can view these!

# = Hashtag (yes, it's the pound or number sign)
For a Twitter newbie, there are 2 basic reasons to using a Hashtag.
1.  if you're at a conference, oftentimes they will offer a hashtag (use this to follow tweets specific to your conference)  usually everyone at your conference who is on twitter will be posting about sessions, give-aways, resources, etc...  
2.  if you'd like to join a specific chat, you will need to know the day of the week and the time of the chat and the hashtag being used (more about Twitter Chats below... keep reading)

How do I send a private message on Twitter?

If using the @ symbol to address someone in a reply ends up being public, how do I send someone a private message?  Simply send them a message... those are private.  Up top on your Twitter screen, you will notice: Home, Profile, Message, and Who to Follow  Simply select Message and follow the steps.  I often click on the person I wish to send a message to and then send a message from their profile page.  Once on their profile page, you'll notice an envelope below their bio.  Click it and another screen window will pop up for you to write your 140 character private message.

Twitter Chats:

Twitter chats are like online, live discussions.  There are certain chats that I really like and try to make it to, virtually.  Click Here for a list of Twitter Chats (times, hashtags to use, and days they occur).
Twitter Chats are usually an hour long.  The time goes quickly.  When you find a chat you're interested in attending, simply login to Twitter during that time.  In the 'search box,' you can search for that Twitter Chat by using the hashtag (#) followed by the title of the chat.  For example, search #ntchat after your Tweet... push enter and your message/post/Tweet will appear in that discussion.  

How to Build your PLN (professional learning network):

In order to get exposure for your Tweets, you need to build a following.  If no one is following you, no one will see your Tweets.  My recommendation is to select other teachers and people in education to follow.  Once you click follow on their profile, they will receive notification that you're following them.  It is good Twitter etiquette to follow people back.  After all, we're all working together to build a network and benefit education as a whole.  

How do you know who to follow?

First, if you are on Twitter and post about information that you think would benefit others in education, please leave a comment on this post with your Twitter name so that we can all start to follow you and build our network.

By clicking here, you can see my list of people I follow.  Feel free to start following them.  Also, click here to see a list that I set up for educators that tweet a lot of quality information; feel free to follow them, too.

When you first start to follow a lot of people, Twitter will 'cap' the number of people you can follow until you start to get more followers.  Once more people start to follow you, you will be able to start following more people.  Thus, I recommend starting off by carefully selecting quality people to follow.  You can see their bio so that you're able to determine if you think their tweets will be beneficial to your practice.  I recommend to follow as many people as possible... when you're capped by Twitter, wait until your followers grow in number, then start following more and more people.  Repeat this process often so that you always continue to grow your network.  The more people in your network, the more exposure you'll have for the Tweets you post.  

How does Twitter help my Blog?

When you post on your blog, Tweet the topic and the link to Twitter.  Your network can click on your link to connect to your blog - increasing your blog exposure.  You can sync your Twitter and your Blog so that each time you post a new item on your blog, a Tweet will automatically be sent via your Twitter account.  Click Here to see how to set this up, thanks Jerome.

Closing Thoughts:

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

If you'd like to add your Twitter name in a comment, others can add you to their PLN on Twitter.

I'd love to have you as a part of my Twitter PLN, please follow me at: @mimadisonklein

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RSCON 3: Inspire. Create. Learn

Friday, July 29 - Sunday, July 31

I'm super excited for this weekend.  I will be out of town at our Michigan Reading Association board member's retreat; however, in between meetings, I will be attending the third RSCON online professional development opportunity

If you'd like to join me and the other thousands of educators already registerd, see the helpful links below:

  • click here to visit the home page
  • click here to see the schedule of events and learn more about the organization of the days
  • click here to read more about a few of the featured presenters and keynotes
  • click here to register (FREE and all online)
  • click here to follow RSCON 3 on Twitter

Mrs. Casey at the Board

My Open Mic Submission for the NWP eAnthology 
(NWP members click above and login to comment)
an original poem inspired by my love for technology 

Mrs. Casey at the Board
Inspired by “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The students had not grown much, in Chalkville for a while, their teachers were stuck in an old-fashioned style.  The Guide on the Side was only a dream, the Sage on the Stage was the king of this team.

Administration was afraid to spend money on tech.  They thought it was just toys that students could wreck.  They splurged on a flip-cam way back in ’07, but the flood of ’09 had sent it to heaven.

Why spend money on gadgets and gook, when a teacher can do with a board and a book?  So they locked up the purse strings and paused for a while, as all of their tools went far out of style.

The parents were angry, they paid for this school!  And the other districts were making them drool.  The children were learning, but slower than others, with the same old textbooks once carried by their mothers.

So the good folks of Chalkville started working toward change, and began to see what progress they could arrange.  They pooled their own money to buy a SMART Board, and hatched a plan that could not be ignored.

If we buy one ourselves and prove that it works, maybe just maybe they will stop being  jerks.  We’re not asking much, we don’t want a ton, but we do want our children to know learning can be fun!

They rose up their funding and went through with their plan, and even the school board gave into their demand.  Starting next year, technology would rule, and every single teacher would have a SMART Board at school.

The parents were happy, the children excited, but some of the teachers did NOT feel invited.  What the heck is a SMART Board; I don’t have no training!  Does this darn thing even work if it’s raining?

A handful of teachers—stars all along, they picked up the SMART Board like a bird to a song.  They did A Plus workshops and even an Ed Camp, and soon after that they were trained like a champ.

But for some it was rough, some complained it was hard.  Especially when we gave it to the oldest of old guard.  Old Mrs. Casey had been teaching here for years.  The thought of new gadgets brought out her worst fears.

She thought “with all my experience, what can I possibly learn?”  A new classroom toy was not her concern. Resistant to change, she was sure this would fail, but ultimately it was her methods that were stale.

But she skipped out on training even though it was free, thinking all along what are they going to teach me?  But now fall is upon us and the school year begins, and that is when the panic starts to seep in.

They had armed her with a SMART Board and a new projector too.  And everybody was ready for great things from room 2.

But because they did not train her, it filled her head with doubt.  And now there is no joy in Chalkville.  Mrs. Casey has struck out.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Look - Same Blog!

I'd love your feedback on my new Kleinspiration look!

My favorite store is Arhaus, and I find myself designing everything in my life around monochromatic hues with the infusion of natural elements to bring a sense of organic life to a space, whether it's virtual or physical.  

I also find myself relating much about school to gardening and to the cycle of plants.  Funny, I know...but my brain works in odd ways sometimes.  Perhaps it's my  interior design work seeping out from my first career passion.  

While you're here, become a Kleinspiration friend and follower.  

Be sure to click each pot and connect through Twitter, Facebook, and Email!

I'd love to hear your comments below on the design theme: by RV Desings.  I worked with Rachel, and she was so efficient, kind, professional, and knowledgeable.  I highly recommend seeking out a custom, affordable blog template for your site - it's so much fun!

You can read my post on TBA, too... and, it you're not a follower - you should be!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Web 2.0 Tools in Education

Web 2.0 Tools in Education: A Quick Guide by Mohamed Amin EmbiThanks @bjnichols for sharing this resource on Twitter!

Really Good Stuff Gift Winner to be Posted at 6:00p.m.

If you'd like a chance to hurry and enter, please click here!

...and the winner is: 205

DAWN: Congrats!  I don't have your email, but this is your Google Profile: click here
Please contact me via email:
Thank you ALL so much for being wonderful and sharing your greatness!
This was Dawn's Comment:

"Congratulations on winning! That is so generous of you to share! Really Good Stuff has terrific things!
 I am excited to be a new follower and signed up by Facebook, e-mail, and Google. I can't wait to read more! Thank you for your work!
said Dawn on Giving Away $75 to say Thank You!"

Dawn just made me smile ear to ear!  She just contacted me with such a warm message.  I hope she doesn't mind me sharing, but truly - this is what teaching is all about... supporting and loving each other.  I have the best blogging friends ever!  I love you all!

Dawn's Message she Emailed me:
Holy cow!  I'm SOOO excited!  I never win anything!  This made my day, week, month!!!  I was just reading some things from your blog when this popped up on Facebook!  Let me know what you need for information!  Thanks again!  You are AWESOME!!  I can't wait to learn more from you!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Free Printable Paper: many patterns and styles!

Wow Wow Wow!  I am so excited about this new resource.  Simple click the link below and scroll down to view all of the amazing paper options - free for you to print.  Also, check out the categories on the left hand side of the web page.  There are tons of choices!

  •  lined paper
  • graph paper
  • softball score sheets
  • penmanship and handwriting paper
  • cornell notes paper
  • grade book paper
  • music sheet paper
  • attendance paper
  • seating chart paper
  • check registry paper
  • and much much more... FREE!
Thanks, Cindy for sharing this amazing resource!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Global Read Aloud

The second annual Global Read Aloud is starting September 19th, 2011!  You won't want to miss out.

Classrooms around the world  working in international 'book clubs' to discuss what they are reading.  The project will run for four weeks.

 This year's selected books are Flat Stanley Books by Jeff Bown for younger students and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt for older students.

 Collaborative efforts can be as simple or as multifaceted as you choose.  Some classes will be connecting electronically through Edmodo, Skype, classroom blogging pages, as well as an international wiki.  Other classes may select a more 'Flat Stanley' approach and use handwritten mail.

The options are endless. What an authentic and exciting experience for your students this fall!

To sign-up for this year's Read Aloud check out  and for more ideas and making connections

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giving Away $75 to say Thank You!

As a winner of the recent Really Good Stuff Classroom Blog Contest, one of the gifts was a $75 gift certificate to their wonderful store.  I'd like to offer one of my followers the $75 gift certificate as a token of my appreciation for supporting Kleinspiration.  I truly am thankful for your support and blogging friendship!  I've grown so very much from having you all as a part of my network.

Here's How to Enter:

Simply leave a comment below that you follow this blog.  If you're not already a follower, now's a great time to start and enter for this amazing gift.

How will the Winner be Selected?
This Thursday, July 21st, a random comment will be selected via Random Generator.  I will post the winner Thursday evening, so please be sure to check back and see if you won!

Did you Know?
You can also follow Kleinspiration on Facebook - click here!
Be sure to also subscribe via email to get the latest updates right to your email.

Thanks Again!  You make my heart smile!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pets for the Classroom!

Guinea Pigs, rats, rabbits, birds, turtles, lizards, fish.  These are just a few of the little creatures that have become quintessential to many a teachers’ classroom. Yes, having a pet in the classroom is a responsibility and does require some extra work.  However, despite having to clean cages, regulate diets, and plan for weekend and vacation care, the rewards teachers and students receive from having a classroom pet can be simply amazing. 

Ok.  Let’s address one objection right off the bat.  Money.  Many school teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals and don’t want to pay for it out of their own pocket. That’s why The Pet Care Trust is sponsoring the Pets in the Classroom program.  The program, available to Pre-Kindergarten through Sixth grade classes in both public and private schools, helps teachers support pets in the classroom through direct, no-hassle grants up to $150 in value. You can obtain a grant or coupon for the purchase of new pets, pet environments and pet food as well as for supplies for existing classroom pets.

So now that you could have the funding to have a furry (or furless!) friend in your classroom, let’s address why classroom pets are worth the extra effort.  Research has shown that caring for pets develops children’s sense of responsibility, respect for living beings, and valuable social skills.  Children can develop an increased awareness of the needs and feelings of others by interacting with a classroom pet and sharing responsibilities with other students.  Teachers also report that classroom pets can create a new sense of enthusiasm in children, as children pitch in and help care for the pet as part of a team.  

A classroom pet also allows for creative additions to standard curriculums across multiple disciplines.  Whether it’s Math (“how much does a hamster weigh?”) or Science, (“what does a snake eat?”) Geography (“what part of the world do ferrets come from?”) or Grammar (“what words would we use to describe a goldfish?”) students will approach learning all these subjects with a new enthusiasm and interest.

Now doesn’t that sound worthwhile?  Your students may not suddenly have perfect manners, listen attentively, and get straight A’s, but the lessons you will be teaching them will be immeasurable. For more information on the benefits of classroom pets and to apply for a Pets in the Classroom grant, please visit  Also, check out this great video for a more in-depth look at the Pets in the Classroom program and the benefits that stem from classroom pets!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Excited About Good Finds!

My son, Jacob, was super excited when he got a fly-ball during a recent Tiger's game.  I love sharing great moments with others, and today I'd like to share a few fun websites I ran across.  I haven't explored them too much yet, so if you have feedback, I'd love to hear about it... you can contact me or simply leave a comment below.  Additionally, if you have a great resource, I'd love for you to share.

A website sharing a number of resources in a variety of content areas.  There is even a link for their 'sites of the month.'  You're sure to find a great treasure!  Thanks Tamara!

Exactly that - twenty different Apple Apps that you can use in your classroom with your ios device (iPod or iPad).  Each featured application has a brief overview.  Thanks Tony!

Connect.  Collaborate.  Embed. 
Developed for teachers, by teachers!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Set up Your own Shop and Make Money!

Click the above image to learn how to open up your own shop on The Teacher's Notebook.  

If you have items you create for your students, why not offer them to other teachers and make a bit of money doing so?  Sounds like a great summer gig to me!

Happy Shopping!

Thank You All So Much!

Thank you all so very much for your votes in the recent Really Good Stuff Classroom Blog Contest!

I'm super excited about your support and thankful for the award.  I'm in the process of putting together a great give-away to express my gratitude.  For now, as a big thank you, please be sure to check out my recent post about Google's new feature and get your invitation: click here to see how!  Again, THANKS so very much - from the bottom of my heart!  

Guest Post: Distance Learning – Offering a Riot of Opportunities of Knowing and Growing by:

Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. ~Edward Everett

The life of an individual is driven by the elements of
need, want, and desire. This elemental cycle gives birth to the maximum need of education, as
into fulfill the need of food; you want money, which in turn can be obtained only through good
education. It also offers a living that is set in high standards of the society, apart from making
a man wise and sensible. Education with time has come up as a serious challenge in the global
human community of the present age, which is further accelerated by the increasing cost of the

Even though countries from all across the world have pumped- in resources and funds to
better the system, education failed to reach the grass-root level of the educational sector.
To make things easier and simpler and to take education to everybody’s doorstep, colleges
and universities from all across came up with the idea of distance Learning. The concept
was greeted with open arms by the student community at large along with the professionals.
Distance education, as it is said has opened up a world of new opportunities steering the
students in a new a world in a new direction.

Distance Learning: The Definition

Distance Learning is simple common terms refer to the idea that focuses on delivering
knowledge to individuals through online mode of teaching. It is categorized as a field of
education that offers knowledge to individuals not present in the physical setting of a
classroom. In most cases, the concept also focuses on delivering teaching methods and
technologies on an individual basis. It is built as a process to create a bridge between students
and teachers, disconnected by time and distance.

Distance Learning: The Major Advantages

The concept of offering education through the distance mode of learning helps many an
individual realize their unfinished dreams. It has come across as a breather for students who
had to compromise on their education under some pressure. The idea also works excellently for
students not comfortable with the process of mainstream education. Finally, the professionals
too is said to have the maximum share of the benefit, as it allows them to hone their technical
skills and upgrade their knowledge without compromising on their job or career.

The concept that witnessed huge takers and initiators all across the world is certain to have a
number of benefits as its major plus. Some of the key advantages of distance learning mode of
education can be zeroed down to –

- Cost Effective
- Quality Education
- Increasing Access
- Flexible Course Schedule
- Not Bound by Time and Distance

Distance Learning works as a major catalyst in meeting the needs and demands of the ever-
changing face of global industry and environment. It takes education to all and especially in
the remote and far-flung areas of the world.

If you like Facebook, you'll Love Google Circles!

I'm super excited about Google +

Would you like an Invitation?

I've heard a lot of buzz about Google's new social feature: Google Circles, and I instantly wanted to be a part of the small group lucky enough to get to test out this incredible new aspect that Google is rolling out.  I heard it was probably unlikely that I'd get an invitation for a while because they were just testing the interface with a small group.  Well, thanks to my techy friend, Karen, I feel so fortunate to have received an invite.  Karen, you never seem to surprise me with your cutting edge tech side and how great you are with tying in all of the fun tools into an authentic purpose for education that is pedagogically sound.  You're a wonderful mentor and teacher; thanks!

Because I firmly believe in sharing the wealth, I'd like to extend the generosity by inviting some of my virtual friends to join me on Google + and Google Circles.  I'm not sure how many I'll be able to accept; however, I'll certainly invite as many as Google allows me to.  To be fair, I'll start by inviting the first of my friends who leave a comment on this post.  I'll go down the list, in order, inviting as many as I can.

 All I ask, in return, is that you become a follower of this blog.  You can also subscribe via email and like us on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.  This way, we can stay connected through social media and share all of our great ideas in a larger network of teachers.  Also, I really believe in supporting other teacher bloggers - I'd really appreciate it if you'd do a brief post about this new feature on your site (please link it to this post on Kleinspiration), so that more of our virtual buddies can become a part of Google's new social networking feature... the more - the better!

So, if you'd like an invitation to this great new feature, please become a follower of my blog and leave a comment below: be sure to leave your email address so that I can invite you.  I look forward to connecting with you and seeing you 'in the circle.'

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Were you Born to Learn? What about your Students?

Check out this thought provoking clip on how 'we' (humans) learn:

Born to Learn: Class Reunion from Born to Learn on Vimeo
I couldn't have written it better myself:

 Born to Learn is a fun, thought-provoking series of animations that illustrate ground breaking new discoveries about how humans learn.  Check out their site for more short films.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Toolbox for Teachers: Spelling

It's Here!  Drum Roll Please...

"A Teacher's Toolbox!"
Spelling: click here

I will be posting my top 5 favorite sites for certain categories.

A Teacher's Toolbox will be posted directly on Kleinspiration.  I'll publish each segment as a regular blog post and archive each post in a blog roll on the right side of my blog - for easy reference.

Because there are SO many amazing websites to sift through, I will only post my top five favorite sites for popular categories (such as: elementary teacher sites, secondary teacher sites, making videos, search engines, vocabulary, people to follow on Twitter, making websites, reading, science, social studies, music, streaming videos, online quizzes, etc...).  This way, you know that each site is truly 'the best of the best.'  Additionally, if you have a category that you would like me to include (and find my top 5 favorite sites to match your category), please contact me via email at:

Click Here for the Original Post: Introducing A Teacher's Toolbox
Click Here for: A Teacher's Toolbox: Spelling

Stay Connected!
Become a Follower of this Blog
Subscribe via Email
Follow Kleinspiration on Twitter
Like Kleinspiration on Facebook

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vote for your Favorite Really Good Stuff Blog Nomination!

Support the Blogs you Love and Vote for Your Favorite!

Really Good Stuff is hosting a classroom blog contest.  Voting is Now through July 7, 2011.  I've put together a nice collection of all the sites nominated so that you can quickly view each blog.  Additionally, you can bookmark the site I'll link you to so that you will have all of these amazing teacher sites at your fingertips!

Click Here to VOTE:
(you must vote for a blog in each of the three categories: K - 4, 5 - 8, and Specialty)

Click Here to View the K - 4 Blogs

Click Here to View the 5 - 8 Blogs (Kleinspiration would love your vote)

Click Here to View the Specialty Blogs (my affiliate site: Teaching Blog Addict would love your vote)

If, for some reason, I missed any of the nominated blogs, please leave a comment below, and I will add your site.  Thanks for creating such amazing sites!  I love exploring your blogs!!

EMWP: This one is for you!

Thanks so much for making my demonstration lesson so comfortable; you all are such an amazing group, and I feel lucky to be a part of your group.

Links from my Presentation:
If I missed anything, please leave a comment below, and I'll add it.  Thanks again!!