Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Lesson Plans, Money for your Class, and Ways to Motivate Students... all in one!

 This national essay contest is perfect for homeschool families! It helps students engage with the Constitution and encourages them to dig into their liberties – which is always important, but especially at this point in our history.

Check out the Bill of Rights Institute’s Being an American Essay Contest, which asks students how the Constitution protects a culture of liberty in a way that challenges them to dig into the Constitution and Founding principles.

Students will respond to the essay prompt: How does the Constitution establish and maintain a culture of liberty in a 1,000 words or less.  The Contest has an accompanying lesson plan that can be used in two 45-minute class periods or one 90-minute period and meets Common Core Standards.

The Contest is open to students in grades 9-12. Five top prizes of $1,000 will be awarded as well as over $5,000 in other cash prizes. The essay submission deadline is December 15, 2011 at 11:59 PM (PST). Teacher submitters will receive $100 for each winning essay they submit.

Check out the Contest website for more information –

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Win an iPad, iPod Touch, and more via MasteryConnect!

The contest is in full swing, but there's still time to enter! Simply upload a common assessment and you'll be entered to win an iPad, iPod Touch, Amazon Gift Card, and other great prizes like MasteryConnect T-shirts. 

Here's more contest info: - Every assessment you upload between now and October 31st counts as an entry (more uploads mean more chances to win). - You must have a profile picture uploaded to be eligible to win. - Winners will be announced November 1st. - Assessments must be related to an individual Common Core standard and be of good quality for the community. 

Click Here to Sign Up for Free!

Start accessing and sharing Common Core aligned lessons with teachers across the country - for free!

Click Here to view my post on TBA!

K5 Learning – Special Offers for Kleinspiration Readers and Teacher Bloggers!

K5 Learning recently launched its online reading and math program  for kindergarten through grade 5.  The program is intended for those parents who want their kids to study a little bit each day at home but have trouble finding the time.  On K5, kids work independently and at their own pace through over 3,000 award winning lessons.  The system automatically chooses lessons, gives interactive tutorials, marks quizzes and prepares reports for parents.    Available 24/7 online, K5 tries to make home learning easy for busy families.

Kids get engaged by K5’s animated lessons filled with role model characters and real life scenarios.   However, the emphasis is very much on education, building independent study skills and reinforcing the importance of school and education.

K5 Learning includes 4 complete programs:  K5 Reading and K5 Math (curricula based lessons), K5 Math Facts (an adaptive math facts program) and K5 Spelling (an advanced spelling/vocabulary program). 

K5 offers a 2 week free trial which includes free reading and math assessments and unlimited access to the lessons    As a special offer to Kleinspiration readers, anyone subscribing to K5 during November 2011 will receive their 2nd month for free.    Just enter the promotional code KLEINSPIRATION.

K5 also offers established bloggers 6 weeks free access to K5 in return for writing an online learning review of K5.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cash Cow App: Practice Money with Real Coins!

An App Suggestion from my 2nd grade student, Jacob!  Thanks, friend!!

- description taken from the iTunes App Store -

Buck the Cow’s farm is in trouble: if he can’t pay his debts soon, then his farm will be repossessed and he’ll lose everything. It’s time for a change – loose change! In this hyper-addictive cash-clinking game, control Buck as he combines coins, power-ups and special pieces to make moolah! Physics mini-games add to the fun, with plenty of puzzles and features on offer as you rustle up money and customize your own ranch. Cash Cow – it’s time to throw caution to the winds, and bet the farm!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

45 apps in 45 minutes by iPadSammy

45 Apps in 45 Minutes
by iPadSammy

I recently ran across this great resource, 45 Apps in 45 Minutes, and wanted to share it with our readers.  While I have many of these great Apps already, I always get excited when I find a few that are new to me and would be great for use within my classroom.  Thanks to iPadSammy for putting this together!  

Once on the site, simply click here, hover your cursor over any of the thumbnail app images to connect to the actual site and read more about the educational app.  Enjoy!

Guest Post: Using Video Games in the Classroom: by Leah Landly

Many students today play video games more than they watch television or go online. While
many parents and teachers may consider these games to be simple diversions, more and more
educators are finding ways to use the games to illustrate concepts in the classroom and to
engage more students. With a little creativity and the right game, teachers can use video games
to strengthen their lesson and to encourage more active participation in the learning process.
Here's how:

Concept Illustration

Educators around the country have found success with a number of games to illustrate core
concepts in subjects such as history, science and mathematics. For example, one Ohio
teacher uses "Rome: Total War" to teach students about military strategy and to encourage
fact gathering and interpretation. The Federation of American Scientists created a game that
teaches students how the immune system works by asking them to save an ill patient by guiding
a "nanobot" through the bloodstream. Another classroom used a game similar to a popular
simulated pet game to teach concepts of evolution. The key is to find a game that requires
students to use their knowledge of core concepts to accomplish the goal.


Online multi-player games can be used in the classroom or for homework assignments to
teach group collaboration and team building. These games require students to work together
to achieve certain goals. Such games usually revolve around strategy, such as historical or
science-based games. There are many popular examples of multi-player games on the popular
market -- such as World of Warcraft and Halo -- but more companies are designing these types
of games specifically for educational purposes.

Physical Fitness

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that video games can promote physical fitness, but
there are a new crop of games that do just that. "Dance, Dance Revolution" requires students
to dance on an electronic mat that records movements. The Nintendo Wii has a number of Wii
Fit games that promote individual exercises, such as yoga, toning and running in place. The
games guide students through the movements and tracks progress. Some schools have used
the games in physical education classes and have seen success with getting more students --
especially shy or withdrawn students -- to participate and to improve their fitness levels.

Video games can be a great complement to traditional classroom learning, either by being
used in the classroom or as a supplemental assignment. Choosing the right game -- preferably
designed by an educational company -- is key to success, as is choosing the right kinds of
follow-up assignments. Have any of you used video games in the classroom? What was your
experience? What tips do you have for other educators for success?


Leah Landly is the community manager for BluWiki, an informational Wiki service and free web
publishing platform. She covers many topics and answers popular questions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Help kids master basic math facts: Xtra Math

A free web program for students, teachers, and parents...

Xtra Math is a great free resource for students, teachers, and families.  The site runs itself and can serve as a supplemental support, enrichment for high studnets to practice higher skills, or intervention for those needing foundational skill review.  

Xtra math can be sued within the classroom - with zero teacher management.  You can see the video by clicking here.  The site has several brief video segments to quickly browse and get a better visual understanding of the site and how it can help your children.

XtraMath Overview from XtraMath on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Erin Klein featured on Edutopia:

I am honored to be featured on Edutopia's site as a guest writer for National Writing Day.

As a member of The National Writing Project, I feel very passionate about creating a culture within a classroom that cultivates an environment where a writer's workshop model is practiced.

Please view my recent post and see two of my favorite platforms for publishing and sharing work, digitally.

October Give-Away Winners Announced!

October Give-Away Winners!

Congrats to the MANY winners we had in October.  We also gave away several prizes throughout the month (over $600 in addition to the goodies listed above!).  

The total monthly winnings in October are over $810!!!

*I will always send an email to our winners notifying him or her of their win!*

What is coming for November Give-Aways?
  • Document Camera
  • Thematic Kits for Teaching
  • Podcasting Microphones
  • Creative Classroom Discovery Tools
  • Tons of Software and Technology Goodies
  • Resources from Educational Insights
  • Gift Cards for Online Shopping
  • Picture Books (hard cover)
  • Young Adult Novels from aNew York Times best selling author
  • and more!
How do you enter for these great Give-Aways each month?

To enter, all you need to do is put your email address in the box below.  Be sure to activate your confirmation email you receive to process your entry.  That's it!  You will now receive our Kleinspiration posts directly to your inbox.  Simply read what sounds interesting and delete what doesn't.  Be sure not to 'unsubscribe' as you will no longer be entered for the Give-Aways.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

I use FeedBurner to track this.  I simply export my subscribers to an Excel sheet so that each email is assigned a number.  Then, when it's time to announce the monthly Give-Aways, I use random number generator to select the winner.  Because you subscribed via email, I have access to each spreadsheet number email address.  So, I send you a friendly email to congratulate you!

I work hard to avoid having my readers have to comment on each post just to get an offer.  I have stopped entering for other Give-Aways myself because I don't have time to jump through hoops to enter for a prize.  So, I wanted to have our Give-Aways be as simple as possible so that you can enjoy the actual content posted on the site, instead of 'liking this and commenting on that...'

All I ask in return is that you...

Please take a moment to check out the AMAZING freebies our partners donated to support this blog:

October Give-Away Supporters...
Click the links below to see the great products and support our Partners!
Wow - Thank you Kleinspiration Readers!

I just wanted to express how truly overwhelmed I am by the dedicated and committed reading base this blog has.  I can't believe that nine months ago, this blog didn't even exist... now, I'm offering hundreds of dollars worth of prizes away each month - for FREE, receiving amazing products to try out, winning such generous awards, making great friends, Skyping with people all over the world, collaborating with companies to support education, and finding super great and brand new resources to share with you.  

Because of YOU, this blog is able to offer great give-aways and maintain our sponsorships.  Please pass this site along to your friends and colleagues.  If you have a blog, please do a brief post about Kleinspiration's tech tips and awesome give-aways.  Shoot me an email that you Blogged about Kleinspiration, and I'll feature you as a blog supporter of our site to send some traffic your way, too!

How can you support Kleinspiration?

1.  Tell EVERYONE about this site - the more visitors we get, the more give-aways we receive!

2.  Blog about Kleinspiration

3.  Visit our October Give-Away Supporter's sites (links are above)

4.  Check our our Sponsors sites:  MasteryConnect, ClassConnect, and Educational Insights

5.  Vote for Kleinspiration: click here

Add the Common Core to your Blog:

Mastery Connect has created a great new widget for your blog!  Now, your readers can access the Common Core from your very own site.  Be sure to sign up for a free account so that you can gain additional access to the many lessons already created and aligned to the Common Core Standards.  You can search for lessons by grade level, content area, most popular, etc...  If you've used SMART Exchange, you'll find that Mastery Connect is very similar to navigate and search.  I also enjoy that Mastery Connect allows you to connect with other teachers you choose to follow.  Way to extend the collaboration in your personal learning network!

Get this code for your site and embed it as a plug-in HTML:
<center><div id="_MC_ccapp_embed" style="display:block; width:480px; height:600px;"><script src=""></script></div></center>

See it now - how awesome!  I've added it to the bottom of my blog.
You can also get the side widget; click here to see it.

Go ahead, click away!  Select a standard or resource below... ohhh...ahhh...  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vizlingo: Type. See. Send

Vizlingo is a fun site that allows you to easily type in a short message such as "I like to go hiking."  Simply click 'create' and see your video play back with a visual video clip representing your typed message.  Great for ESL or ELL students!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Please support Kleinspiration

My blog is up for another award. I'd love your vote. It truly only takes a second. Click the link, scroll until you see "Kleinspiration" click vote. That's it. Thanks SO much!! 
If you could 'share this post,' too - that would be super!

Click Here to Scroll down and Vote for Kleinspiration. 

Thank you very much!! I know you're busy, and I really appreciate your help and support.


Photon: Flash Web Browser for iPad

A Web Browser to Enable Flash on your ios Device 

 "Photon browser is a powerful and versatile Safari alternative that excels in its Flash support..." - USAToday 

Click here to read the USA Today piece by Marc Saltzman.  Then, you'll want to click here to connect to the App Store and download your application today for $4.99.

I've blogged about apps such as Splash Top Remote before; however, yesterday, when my dad introduced me to Photon, I wasn't convinced.  I just went ahead and purchased the app myself to test the true functionality.  Wow - impressive!  Finally... I have mastered another hurdle with a tech tool - yippee!

You'll love using Photon as your new browser.  No more being denied access to any site because of Flash... simply use Photon to connect to the Internet.  When "Flash" is needed, just click the lightning bold by the search bar and Flash is automatically enabled to your ios device.  

Please support this site and the provided tech tips and vote:
(simply 2 mouse clicks and 4 seconds)
click here to scroll down until you see Kleinspiration and click vote

$50 for your Class via Educational Insights:

Educational Insights is a partner of Kleinspiration.  We offer monthly give-aways for you!  Simply subscribe to our site and you'll be automatically entered each month.  Check out our blog side roll to see our monthly give-away items.

As a bonus, Educational Insights is offering a reader of Kleinspiration a $50 Gift Card to their online store.  They have so many wonderful products.  Winners will be posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011.

Click Here to Enter for this Give-Away!

Please support this site and the provided tech tips and vote:
simply 2 mouse clicks and 4 seconds)
click here to scroll down until you see Kleinspiration and click vote

Gadgets for the Classroom: by Jesse Langley

Whether you need to be able to spend more time focusing on your students or just be able to get things
done, there is probably a gadget that you can use in the classroom to make the day pass more smoothly.
With a little help from manufacturers, you can get your caffeine fix without leaving the room or sit in the
back of your classroom and control your computer.

There is no limit to what a teacher fully equipped with a ton of gadgets can do, of course, but there
is such a thing as too much. To help you sort through them, we’ve compiled a list of four gadgets no
teacher should be without.


Experienced teachers know that to control a classroom, you first must control its technology. Show any
fear, and students may become unruly as you wait for someone with an IT degree to save your lesson
plan. The ProMini Keyboard won’t prevent all missteps, but it will help you have instant access to your
computer, even if you’re sitting in the back of the room. The device has a trackpad, a laser pointer and a
keyboard to control a movie, slideshow or presentation from anywhere in the room.

Beverage Cooler

When teachers aren’t sipping on coffee, they usually have some sort of soda in hand. Sadly, when the
need for caffeine hits around 2 p.m., it’s not like you can ask your students to sit and not move while
you run down to the vending machine. Come prepared and keep your drink cool by plugging your single-
can refrigerator into your USB port. It’s just a tiny bit bigger than the size of a can, so it also should be
easy to keep it away from little hands and eyes.

X-Acto Electric Pencil Sharpener

Yes, you still need a pencil sharpener in 2011. While there are a ton of online school programs you’ll use, students still have workbooks and still need to fill out tests. Don’t rely on the janky ones hung on each classroom wall since half the time they don’t even
work. When they do, students are far more likely to hold their pencils crooked and break the tips off,
which ensures even more standing around and even more grinding noises. Set the machine on your desk
and ask a few times a day if anyone needs to sharpen their pencil to avoid small human-sized traffic

Staple-Free Stapler

Teachers try to lead by example, but often it’s a little too difficult. Make Earth Day easier on your
conscience by using the Staple-Free Stapler, which (surprisingly) will help you not fill landfills up with

staples. The device will attach up to five sheets of regular computer paper, which is more than you can
say for traditional staplers. It also helps you avoid sweater snags, students stepping on discarded metal
shards and inconvenient trips to the supply cabinet. The stapler cuts and folds paper, so it’s more secure
than just folding it over like you do when you’re desperate and out of staples.

Please support this site and the provided tech tips and vote:
(simply 2 mouse clicks and 4 seconds)
click here to scroll down until you see Kleinspiration and click vote

$50 Apple Store Give-Away via Remind101

Click here to read the special offer via Remind 101 to get your Apple Gift Cards!

Remind 101 is a great application that allows you to text your students or parents from your computer... safe, simple, secure.

Just In Time For the Holidays-My Memories

With the Holidays right around the corner, tis the season for a million digital images.  So many great pictures, but what do we do with them?  How many great pictures have been left behind on the memory card?  It's no wonder they call it a memory card, that's where all the good pictures are!  And I love my digital camera-no doubt about it, but sometimes I do long for the day when I would just send in a disposable camera, not knowing what was on it, because in the age of digital, we just never get around to printing the pictures anymore.  There is always a reason not to do it---it takes too long, too many clicks, the paper is hard to work with, there are just so many excuses and not enough time.

Luckily, there is a digital scrapbooking software that makes scrapbooking both fun and easy.  My Memories scrapbook software is very easy to use, for everybody from children and novice computer users to experts.  All of the little annoyances that we are used to from our photo software programs disappear with My Memories. 

As a special for Kleinspiration readers, we are hosting a very special giveaway of this wonderful product.  To enter the giveaway, please take a look at the site and let us know which digital paper pack or layout you liked best by responding in the comments under this post.  But this isn't a contest with just one winner.  Every Kleinspiration reader will recieve a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store - $20 value!)  The coupon code for your discounts is STMMMS92089

You can also like and follow My Memories on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about upcoming promotions and specials. Keep in mind, My Memories isn't just for scrapbooking photos.  You can use your My Memories Suite to make calendars, invitations, baseball cards, just about anything you could think of.  This is the memory that I created, in less than 5 minutes, using My Memories.  It's a couple favorite pictures from my son's birthday party, which we could easily print and add as an insert to the thank you cards we send his party guests.  The software is very easy to use, and there are so many options, it really is fun and easy!   

If you're interested in seeing more of the product in action, you can watch a video here.  There was one really key thing I found very interesting about My Memories when I began using it as well.  I originally started off planning to do a page with a theme--see above, clearly a birthday idea, but then I realized how EASILY My Memories was accessing all of my pictures.  AMAZING.  I didn't have to have a theme in my head.  I could see it right in front of my face.  So now I'm just dragging pictures all over the place and making those cool collages, without all the cutting and taping.  It's so easy, and since I already did one for Jacob, I just had to have one for Riley.  These 10 photos were just sitting in my computer for no reason.  They were lost in space.  Now they have a home.  Check it out.  Super cute, and it only took 5 minutes!!!!

This product is really fun and so easy to use.  It easily accesses your photos, crops, rotates, adds color and text without any difficulty, and saves, shares, and prints so easily a child could do it.  There are plenty of different templates already set up for you in the online store.  Here is one worth checking out and very seasonally appropriate: the Totally Autumn Pack which is a perfect set for everybody coming back from the apple orchards, haunted houses, and pumpkin patches this weekend.  You know you'll have great pictures, but where do you put them?  Scrapbook them here and break it out every fall to share the memories.  You could use the online photo book creator tool to simply upload your pictures, create a beautiful coffee table book, and have it sent right to you, or print at home.  There are plenty of options.  And don't forget to use your Kleinspiration coupon code STMMMS92089 for extra savings. 


Friday, October 21, 2011

Kleinspiration Awarded Top 50 Status

Thank you Kleinspiration readers!

I am very excited to have recently learned that Kleinspiration has been named one of the Top 50 Elementary Teacher Blogs by Teacher Certification  Please take a moment to view the list of the top 50, many of which are friends and co-contributors.  You can see the list here.

As a first year blogger, I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award, and I am certain a significant reason that Kleinspiration receives consideration is due to our readers and partners.  Thank you all so much for your support!  Congratulations also to all of the winners; it is so good to see so many familiar names on the list and see that there is such a strong movement from within to help prepare today's learners for tomorrow's adventures. 

Requesting your Support:

Kleinspiration has just recently been recognized as a nominee for Circle of Moms Top Teacher Blog.  As always, I'd truly appreciate your continued support.  Please click here to scroll down and click 'vote' beside Kleinspiration... this site shouldn't take you longer than four seconds.  Thanks so very much!

2nd Grade - Everyday Math: Teaching Money

I ran across this great math site, Cash Out, to help students work with counting coins and knowing how to subtract, or count up to return change.

I've included the link on my class website so that parents can support their children at home in a fun manner.  I really like this site because the coins look absolutly real... and who has coins at home these days?  My poor house is all plastic or PayPal.

My students loved when we practiced this in class, too.  Have fun shopping and playing!

Kleinspiration has been selected as a nominee for Circle of Moms Top 25 Teacher Blogs.  The contest takes 2 clicks and about four seconds.  First, click here to connect to the voting site.  Second, scroll down to find Kleinspiration and click 'vote.'  That's it.  We appreciate your support!  Thanks!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Class Dojo Wins at NBC’s Education Nation!!!

Some of you may remember our earlier post on ClassDojo from this summer and have been using their technology this year in your classrooms. 

Recently, ClassDojo was picked to be one of the three education technology companies featured on NBC's Education Nation show in September. We're incredibly proud that our friends at ClassDojo ended up winning that contest. You can check out the video of Sam delivering the winning pitch here or watch it below (I've clipped the segment to only show Sam)!

From our classroom to your team, congratulations 
on a much deserved honor and a job well done.  Fantastic work!

Reader's Workshop for K-2

Websites to Wow your Workshop

I'm out of the classroom today at a conference for reader's workshop, and it's simply amazing!  I've had many opportunities for professional development in the area for reader's workshop; however, I truly find the benefit of conferences that aren't a 'one stop shop.'  I am growing from this one because we meet monthly to learn and collaborate with a great group of professionals within our district.  We are able to learn in bits, take it back to our classrooms, and come together later to discuss and learn again - throughout the year.

Books for those Beginning Budding Readers
engaging.  appropriate.  affordable
Mentor Texts and Read Alouds
Teaching with Picture Books

Keith Schoch has a helpful blog containing several suggestions for powerful books that would serve as great examples to use within your classroom for read alouds or mentor texts.  Be sure to check out "Teach with Picture Books" - there are so many categories and examples.

Thanks Keith for a great site; you've saved me hours.

Chartchums: Anchor Chart Examples and Blog

Chartchums is a wonderful website to see examples of actual anchor charts created by teachers for their workshops.  I love getting the creative ideas for even how to: keep it simple and still be creative.

Also, get ideas for classroom and workshop organization.

Get ideas for setting up your classroom library, too!

One of my personal favorite sites to always go to is... Beth Newingham's Class Website

click here for her classroom library photos and links and more!

Beth's website is five star.  A top teacher from Troy, MI, Beth is also a Scholastic Mentor teacher.  She has really blessed teachers with a fabulous resource on her class site.  I can't tell you how many classrooms I've seen, even across the country via blog photos, that have printed off her free genre posters, free class library book labels, or reader's notebook lessons - all free and rich in sound pedagogy.  

Beth also received a SMART Board recently and has shared strategies for incorporating this new technology into her classroom instruction - especially for math workshop.

Having met Beth, I can tell you she truly is a treasure to the teaching profession.  Please be sure to check her site out by clicking here.  Her Scholastic Blog has even more beneficial resources.

Please support this site and the provided tech tips and vote:
(simply 2 mouse clicks and 4 seconds)
click here to scroll down until you see Kleinspiration and click vote

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Put your transcripts to work for you with Parchment

Growing up as a military child, I moved around quite a bit.  My family moved from Ohio to Michigan to the Philippines to Mississippi to Louisiana, then to Alabama, and finally back to Michigan, where I’ve stayed.  You can imagine there are a couple of schools along the way in that journey.  With each new school, especially in college, the inevitability of getting a transcript from your old schools would always be looming.  Even if you saved the old ones, you now had a new school that you just left, and a new process of hoops to jump through.

This continued into adulthood.  At one point, I’d misplaced a couple of transcripts.  When I applied for a masters program in 2008, guess what--- “Please submit all transcripts” was right on the application.  Of course that means multiple phone calls, multiple fees.  It took so long to get one from a university that I attended for one semester in 1999, that I had to wait a full semester to register for my masters program. 

I’ve recently discovered an online tool that would have changed all of this.  Parchment is a free web tool, which allows students to easily get, send, and save transcripts in one place.  It also will help a student draw comparisons between colleges, and provide the student with a projection of what their chances of getting in are, compared against other applicants.  It uses a technology similar to that of an online movie store to track what colleges like and dislike in students. 

This tool would have saved me a ton of time when I was younger, and I’ve got a feeling it would have also saved me a lot of money in transcript fees.  This will be fantastic for upcoming high school students to see how they are faring over time and what they can do to increase their odds of getting into their favorite colleges.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wide EMU unConference 2011

The following is a Prezi I used to do my demonstration lesson this summer at the Eastern Michigan Writing Project.

 I will be referring to some of the resources within this presentation.

Thank you for attending my session today the Wide-EMU '11 unConference.

Here are a few links that will be mentioned within today's chat:

I invite you to enter your email address within the box below to get my posts sent directly to your email.  You can read what you like and simply delete what doesn't apply to your practice.  Be sure to verify the confirmation email you will receive in order to activate your Kleinspiration newsletter.  Again, thank you.

Enter your email address:

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A Halloween Favorite: Five Little Pumpkins

Our three year old son Jacob absolutely loves this book, Five Little Pumpkins.  He has been very excited for Halloween this year and is reading his Pumpkin book every night.  I wanted to share this book with you as I know it can sometimes be difficult to find Halloween materials that are not scary for the little ones. 

This is a good book for early educators.  It is fairly short, easy to understand, has beautiful illustrations from Dan Yaccarino, and a great sing-along tone in which the kids can pick up fairly quickly and play along.  We received our copy at a book fair; however, it appears there are multiple ways to find this great seasonal book.  I’ve included an Amazon link for your convenience, and I’m sure that you also can find this at multiple book stores.  Enjoy!

Educational Insights Giveaway

The easiest decision you’ll make today.  For a chance to win $50 for your classroom, would you make 3 mouse clicks? 

Follow these steps for entry.

  • Head over to Educational Insights and “like” them on Facebook.    
  • And then just leave a comment here 
Seems simple, right?  It is that simple.  Please be sure to check out their fantastic products while you are there. Educational Insights is a valued partner of Kleinspiration, and has provided our readers with some great items already.  This is another fantastic opportunity for this weekend! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today is the last day, please take a moment...

Today is the last day to vote for your favorite blogs on  Kleinspiration is running a very close second in the best tech blog category.  We need your votes!!!!!  Voting takes less than a minute. 

Kleinspiration is in 2nd place by only 4 votes!  Who has a vote out there for us?  Kleinspiration is an awesome candidate for a Best Mom Blog Award from , so please, vote TODAY!  Created just in January 2011 was recently voted one of the top 50 education blogs in the country, in our first year.  This is a wonderful honor, and only a few more votes will capture another great award from Parents.  Please Vote to support this site and continue to receive amazing freebies and give-aways from our wonderful sponsors and partners!!!!!  Don't forget to sign in for the great giveaways!

Please, take a moment to hit the vote button, enter your email, and submit your vote!!!!!!!!  Hugs!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Teach the Common Core with Mastery Connect!

Mastery Connect: Teaching the Common Core just got a whole lot easier!

My Fantastic Find

I've been using the MasteryConnect App for a few months now, and I just found out they also have a website!  This is so cool because now I can sign up (for free - or upgrade) and start immediaely connecting with teachers around the country to find 'just-right' activities and assessments that are already aligned to the common core.  It's like "Google for Effective Teachers."  I'm blown away.

Try the Free Apps Today!
         Access the Common Core Standards Anywhere!

Yesterday, my class was discussing text features.  I hopped right on the MasteryConnect site, signed in, and selected my grade level and content area.  I found an amazing assessment to use for my lesson.  Best part - it was free and already created.  I knew it was good because I also searched for 'assessments with the most downloads.'  This way, I figured if a lot of other teachers already downloaded it, it must be great.

Now, I'm excited to start sharing my own content.  I appreciate so much that other teachers are sharing their goodies - it's only right to 'pay it forward.'  By the way, you can send messages and follow teachers who post content you enjoy.  What a lesson planner's dream!


Imagine having your iPhone/iPad/iPod grade your papers for you...

Classroom Freebies: a new teacher fav!

Classroom Freebies is a BRAND NEW website - not even a month old.  Already this site is climbing the ranks as a top educational blog.  How do I know?  Well, I'm a contributing author, along with several other amazing teacher bloggers.  Classroom Freebies was developed by Charity, author of The Organized Classroom Blog.  It was her vision to create a site that had freebies for teachers... not give-aways... items that truly are free and will always be free.  Cool, huh?!?

Kleinspiration friends, as you know, I've never been one to really create content for my teacher store; however, I've always been inspired to do so.  Now, I'm really pushing myself to get creative and be brave.  I'm nervous about creating content and posting it to the public.  I do hope you like my creations!  Be sure to follow Kleinspiration and Classroom Freebies so that you don't miss any great treasures.  

I would LOVE ideas on items you'd like for me to work on and create.  I am just testing the waters with this area of blogging.  Usually I'm best at sharing resources and hosting give-aways... now, I'm venturing into creating content.  Yipes!  What would you like to get as a freebie?  I'll work on creating it.  :)

Please support Kleinspiration and vote for this blog in the Parent Magazine Contest.  Each vote counts!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SuperTintin - Record Your Skype Conversations

Have a Stellar Skype?  Record it and use it for your Lessons!

 Skype allows students across the world to converse and interact with each other on a regular basis. This is an extremely beneficial addition to any classroom as our society becomes more global. For the students forming relationships with children in other states or countries, their broadening horizons will enhance their lives for years to come.

As an avid user of Skype, I have experienced several scenarios in which an easy way to record and playback the call would be of great benefit to my students.  Here are a few examples:

  • Skype is a great tool for connecting groups of people. 
Since they can see and hear each other, often times students will become heavily engaged or interested in the call, and lose track of small details that they would otherwise take notes on.

  • Skype connects people anywhere on the planet.  
Occasionally there is a language or communication barrier, which can be addressed and overcome on playback.

  • In the cases of a unique experience, say a call from the US to Australia, many teachers will often facilitate a Skype call with a large group, say 30-50 students, possibly on both ends of the call.  
Unfortunately, large groups can become a distraction at times, and even something so minor as a cough or a sneeze will prevent part of the group from hearing something important. 

  • Similar to any phone call, once a Skype call is over, it’s over.  
It is not a book that can be reread for clarity.  Many teachers shy away from facilitating Skype calls as they are often a classroom management project, and teaching to the main points of the call can get lost in the shuffle.  It can be difficult for the teacher to pay attention to the call in some situations if technical difficulties occur, or there is a behavioral issue in the classroom.  Thus, teaching after the call does not occur.

SuperTintin addresses all of these concerns in one easy to use package.  

With SuperTintin, a teacher can record both the audio and video of their Skype session, and revisit later, potentially by adding it to their lessons as a video clip, or simply replaying the call and touching on main points with the class.  There is no need for teachers to furiously scribble notes while on a Skype, as they can playback at a later date, or even right after the call.

SuperTintin is a fully-featured audio and video recording software which allows Skype users to record their online conversations. These recorded conversations can be used for review purposes in the classroom, to share with others in the school or the students’ parents and/or for any other reason which the teacher and students see potential.

Here are a few of the features of SuperTintin for recording Skype calls:

  • Both Audio and Video: Record all audio and video streams including Skype voice mail and screen sharing video.
  • Easiest to Use: Very easy to record and playback.
  • Highest Quality: Supertintin records by capturing original media data while making sure there is no data loss. Because it is not a screen-capture recorder, video quality is not affected at all if you open, close and/or resize messenger windows while recording.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Record video in Picture-in-Picture, Side-by-Side, Remote-Only, or Local-Only mode! And you can also record local and remote video as two separate files.
  • Saving. Supertintin lets you easily save your conversations to your computer's hard drive or a portable USB drive, allowing you to re-watch your conversations as easily as watching your favorite DVD.
Download your Copy by Clicking Below!

 Click Here to Start Recording Your Skype Sessions!

Monday, October 10, 2011

ESGI Winners are Announced! $600 in Goodies for you super blog friends!

If you're one of the lucky 3 winners to receive a full free year of ESGI, please contact Greg at: to get set up with upgrading your account.

If you haven't yet seen ESGI... you'e in for a treat!  See what the buzz is all about - straight from teachers:

Visit this post on TBA by clicking here.
Erin Klein, TBA Business and Marketing Manager
Be sure to also check out Classroom Freebies, a brand new site I contribute to!

Cool Websites for Teachers: by Jesse Langley

Teachers are often encouraged to use more technology in the classroom, with little instruction or
direction. All they’re told is that it’s the 21st century and kids need to be learning from computers.
Never fear, though, there are several blogs and online tools with creative ideas and solutions for the

How Many Really?

How Many Really solves a problem educators have had since the beginning of time: how to make
major, world events seem relevant to children. BBC created the tool to integrate directly into a person’s
Facebook or Twitter account and then show their ill lilefriends in relation to different historical events.
A teacher could have students each friend or follow an account specifically for that class. That way,
students could see how many people were sacrificed at Mayan temples in comparison to how many
people are in the class. It might be better for high school students, since they’re likely to already have
social media profiles.


Interactive timelines are great for students learning about an event who want to work on their own
time. Let students flip through timelines on World War II, colonization or even the competition between
Microsoft and Apple while you talk about them. Then let each student pick their favorite moment in
time and share with the class. Time Rime works off of Adobe Flash 8, so you’ll need to have computers
with updated software before you attempt to use this on students’ computers. Sadly, it won’t work at all
if you’re working off of iPads since iOS doesn’t support Flash.

Skype in the Classroom

Skype allows teachers to collaborate on projects around the globe. The specialized Skype in the
Classroom portal makes it easier than ever for teachers to connect their classrooms and to each
other. The main advantages of Skype are, of course, that it’s easy and free to use. Skype also boasts
a versatility that most programs can’t touch. The potential for online school programs are enormous, since it can reach around the world. Added to that,
the Skype in the Classroom website lets teachers find each other through easily searchable project and
teacher tabs. If you need to bounce classroom plans off of someone or want to team up with another
class to learn about different cultures, Skype in the Classroom is the right place for you.


If you need somewhere to go to find out about all the latest in classroom technology and an analysis
of how useful it actually is, try bookmarking Edudemic. To give you a taste of what they do, take one
subject: the iPad. They feature articles on ways to use iPads in the classrooms, apps to download for
it, and stories on how it competes with other tablets, and whether or not they’re even useful in the
classroom. You can’t find coverage this complete on many smaller sites, and the specialization is great
since tech education itself is so specialized.

If you’re looking for a little classroom inspiration, look no further than Joel Levin, who is blogging about using Minecraft to teach elementary school kids about group dynamics. He’s taken a game that typically teaches nothing— it’s basically Legos for PCs—and created a virtual lab for students to learn about leadership, working together, and respecting one another.

David Warlick works with the North Carolina State Department of Education. He gathers information on technology that teachers can use and blogs about them. He has separate sites for an infographic and a video a day that are designed with students
of all ages in mind.

Richard Byrne evaluates and writes about different tools for teachers on his Free Technology for Teachers blog. Though the title sounds a bit spammy, all of the posts are incredibly informative and helpful.

Cool Cat Teacher is the ongoing story of Vicki Davis, a teacher who is brimming with encouragement and insight for her fellow educators. It’s well worth putting on your Google Reader.