Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interior Design for your Classroom!

Photo Credit: Schoolgirl Style by Melanie

That's right - Classroom Couture !

When I ran across Melanie's photos on Pinterest, I went crazy!  I spent three years at Michigan State studying Interior Design prior to entering teaching.  It was hard leaving my passion for design; however, I wasn't invested in the C.A.D (computer aided drafting) aspects of the field.  This is interesting because now that I'm in teaching, it's the technology that has become my passion... I think I just like to drive myself crazy!  ~ Anyhow... you can see why I simply love how beautiful Melanie's designs are!  They aren't overbearing, and they're rich in aesthetic value.

Photo Credit: Schoolgirl Style by Melanie

I've had a few ideas for next year... and now summer can't get here quick enough!  I'm ready to rearrange and redecorate!   I encourage you to click here and check out the rest of these photos!  Warning... be sure you're not standing close to someone.  If you're like me you'll start smacking the person next to you to 'Look!' how cute the pictures are!  :D

Photo Credit: Schoolgirl Style by Melanie

Melanie even shares photos from her home, too.  She has such a classic style that is sure to suit many tastes!  I love her Halloween photos for home and school.  She has great ideas for classroom parties!

Please support Kleinspiration and Click Vote!
There are also 49 other great blogs to add to your RSS! Check them out!
Would you like to see more?

click here to visit the Schoolgirl Style blog
click here to follow Melanie on Pinterest
click here to visit The Teacher's Notebook store

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Education World: Top 25 Blogs for Education

Education World Names the Top 25 Blogs in Education

As a reader of Education World, I often visit their site for ideas and trends in education.  However, my most recent visit was for a different reason.  On my blog analytics, I noticed that a healthy stream of traffic was coming directly from their site.  After linking to the traffic source, I was surprised and honored to see that Kleinspiration was mentioned as one of the Top 25 Blogs for Education as  "15 More Blogs We Love."  I'm not sure of the process to get recognized, but I wanted to publicly thank the Education World Community for recognizing this blog as a resource for education.  Thank you so much for the honor!

After skimming through the top 25, I was also excited to see many of the blogs I already follow - including blogs in which I'm personally friends with the author... way to go Charity and Eric!!  Blogging and Social Media has connected me to so many great educators.  Through these networking platforms, I have gained a wealth of knowledge to support my practice.  As a new teacher, I am thankful to my network of friends and colleagues for supporting innovation and student-centered learning with a hands-on approach.  These ideas help shape my daily practice.  I continue to follow and enjoy the work you all share. 

Through blogging and sharing ideas, we all grow from each other's insights.  Though the world is vast, I feel connected through the 'personal' learning networks and great SM mentors.  Hugs!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Montly Post on Really Good Stuff

Classroom Science

Science-it’s a subject that often will be the most difficult and most exciting to teach. When I think back to my early years as a student and my initial exposure to science, I often recall the exciting scientific exploits of Bill Nye the Science Guy, or in later years The Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Both taught and explored with a passion that came right through the television screen, grabbed your attention, and brought you in to the experience.

But how do we teach like this in school ourselves?

Click Here to Read My Full Article on Really Good Stuff

Friday, March 23, 2012

Whole Wide World: a free Social Studies App for 5-8 year olds Launched Last Night!

I love sharing Fingerprint Apps because my almost 4 year old and 7 year old totally dig them!

I was really excited when my friend, Nikki, from Fingerprint contacted me about a new app that Fingerprint was launching: Whole Wide World.  My son, Jacob, just loves playing their other apps. 

You can read about thir other super apps by clicking here.  Many of their apps support comprehension skills math computation.  I appreciate that their apps are easy to use, have parental settings, really support academics, and are engaging!

Whole Wide World Description:

Play the world one game at a time. Whole Wide World takes you on a fun journey of sight, sound and play. Learn about the monarch butterflies of Mexico and the giant rocks of Iceland. Ride a Kangaroo in Australia, find hidden objects in China and much more! Fill your scrapbook with postcards from around the world and learn fun facts about cultural and geographical wonders. Start with three exciting destinations and then choose where to go next on a learning journey unlike anything else!

Learning content:

Whole Wide World features a range of themed content around Geography, Social Studies, History, and Culture introduced through exciting action, logic, puzzle, and matching games.

Click Here to See this Free App in iTunes!


Click Here to visit the Fingerprint Website!
(they have super cute 60 second videos of all their apps - worth checking out)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free Common Core Aligned Lessons and Web 2.0 Games to Play on your SMART Board!

Attention: FREE Lessons and Interactive Resources!

I am a BIG FAN of open source sharing and teacher collaboration.  Blog superstar Richard Byrne was my inspiration for starting my blog... to share free and amazing resources with teachers.  As teachers, we all are tight on funding when it comes to gathering supplies and resources.  I hope you enjoy the lessons the many great teachers have begun to share on ClassConnect - together we achieve more... yes, I just pulled out the good ole' T.E.A.M analogy!  Be sure to watch the video below!!

If you like Freebies  and  Printables - this is a post for you!

If you like free Lessons  and   SMART Board games - this is a post for you!

click play below for a 2 minute introduction

I Finally Organized My Files to Share on ClassConnect!

~there are hundreds of neatly organized and aligned lessons at all grade levels~

My Goal:

to have one organized place for all of my content: files, presentations, lectures, websites, html code, lessons, plans, resources, etc... so that I can Save Time when Planning!  Bonus: sharing with friends!

Let's look inside of my ClassConnect account... (which was free and quick to set up!)
click here to set up your account

You organize your files how you want... just like your "My Documents" folders.

I have shared my folders publicly with other teachers. 
I do keep some private - ie: student work, class photos/videos, lesson plans in progress, etc...

When you click on Common Core State Standards... this is what my files look like:

I have everything neatly organized into grade levels.

Just for fun, let's open up the Kindergarten file...

btw... all of my grade levels are organized this way

Once you open any grade level, you will notice a series of folders neatly organized by content area.

Now, if you open up any content area, you will see the resources contained within that folder.

Here is an example of my Kindergarten Language Arts folder:

...again... all of my grade levels and content areas are organized in this exact manner

Without ever leaving ClassConnect, I can use all of my content!
(videos, websites, files - no upload/download time)

Utah Education Network put together a fabulous selection Common Core lessons!

I saved each grade level's lessons and activities within my ClassConnect files for easy access.  I also have other resources within each folder for each grade level - all shared for you to use!

Yes, there are activities, games, units and lessons that you can use all year long!

I didn't stop with language arts...

The National Science Digital Library has a great collection of
interactive content to match your core standards! 

I've included this within my ClassConnect folders, too!

I'm excited to announce that I have enough content in my folders to teach for 180 days in any content area!  Mission accomplished... well.... for K-3 at least.  I have been working on this project all day.  I will be completing my 4-8 and secondary files over spring break. 

The best part is though... my lessons aren't just 'files.'  I have tons of interactive content tucked away in each folder, too.  :-)  This is such an exciting part!  Now, when I'm teaching a specific concept, I simply open that folder/lesson and ALL of my resources (files and fun) are right there - can't do that with Microsoft Word - or even other cloud based storage sites!

Oh yeah... did I mention how simple this makes it to flip your class?  You and your students will LOVE ClassConnect for this instructional model.  The sharing and collaboration features are amazing.

So, how do you get started?

Here is my post earlier in the week that explains ClassConnect a bit more: click here

Step 1: sign up (click here)
Once you sign up, you can access all of my free Common Core files - click here

Step 2:  start adding your content (files/websites/etc...) to the ClassConnect site
ClassConnect works because teachers contribute to the site... It's kind of like Wikipedia... if no one wrote articles for Wikipedia... there would be no content to share.  Therefore, it's important to add your goodies publicly.  When you do so, you get free storage and points! 

Step 3: Invite your friends - when you do, you get free storage... bonus!

Step 4:  Browse/search the ClassConnect site and add other's lessons to your files, too!  It is as easy as 'Pinning' on Pinterest!!

Step 5:  Share this free resource via Twitter, Facebook, Blog about It... the only way other teachers will begin to contribute to the site is if they know about it... the MORE the BETTER! 

If you're on Twitter, feel free to copy/paste this Tweet:
Free CommonCore Lessons and Resources: via @ClassConnectInc #kleinspiration

Follow Me!

Look, I'm Learning! A Digital Story of Primary Students Using iPads 1:1!

Look, I'm Learning from Allyson Rockwell on Vimeo.
- a great video trailor for the documentary -
A Michigan Technology Initative

What happens when you give a bunch of 5 & 7 year olds their own iPads?

I'm proud to support the efforts of a few Michigan technology pioneers.  What happens to public education when we give children technology designed for learning? What excites us about the prospect? Why is education dead last in terms of technology adoption? What are we doing about it?  These were the questions asked of two Michigan teachers...

The following information comes from the Look, I'm Learning website:

Look, I’m learning will tell the inspirational story of Amber Kowatch and Ashley McDonald who teach kindergarten and 2nd grade in Ludington, Michigan. These teachers went one-to-one with their students by providing each student with an iPad to use for the school year. We believe the story about these two teachers, the changes in their classrooms, and the impact on their students and parents will be compelling enough to change the national conversation about technology in the classroom. This project has turned into a learning initiative not a technology initiative it’s about having a change in the learning and that’s what changes the whole dimension of what was accomplished.

The team even has a list of their top favorite Apps!

This film is more than simply using technology - it supports the importance of changing the mindset towards technology integration in education.  This isn't just a film that shows what is happening in two classrooms, it's purpose is to spark a national conversation about the place of technology for today's learners.

 You can read more to support their initative by clicking here.

Please click here and visit their Kickstarter Page.  You can see more about the film and follow their blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Win a Document Camera and a HearALL Assessment Recorder from Learning Resources

HearALL™ Assessment Recorder

Product Description:
Hear way beyond! Authentically assess students’ skills and participation in small groups. Designed with 4 omni-directional microphones to capture clear recordings with dramatically reduced background noise. Play back, download and share files (WAV or MP3) with specialists or parents, or upload to portfolios. Records up to 4 hours of audio from reading groups, learning centers, listening and speaking activities, speech therapy and more!

*The above information was collected from the Learning Resources product site.
To read my review and other teacher's reviews, please click here
To see the product, please click here. 
*Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon.  I did not get compensated for this post.

Enter to WIN a FREE HearALL Assessment Recorder

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Luna™ Interactive Projection Camera

Product Description:

Now Mac compatible!
Demonstrate manipulatives in action, student work, real-life objects, book pages and more — at a fraction of the cost of a "document" camera!

Three technology tools in one, yet so affordable! Easy-to-use digital projection camera is also a web cam and photo/video camera. Great for students’ multimedia projects across the curriculum or whole-class demonstration of manipulatives in action, book pages, science models and more. Document student progress for assessment, then upload files to digital portfolios or share with other educators or parents. Connects via USB port to use with your PC (XP, Vista, Win7) and is compatible with your interactive whiteboard. Boosts students’ 21st-century skills and helps you reach beyond traditional teaching methods. 

*The above information was collected from the Learning Resources product site.
To read my review and other teacher's reviews, please click here
To see the product, please click here
*Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Amazon. I did not get compensated for this post.

Enter to WIN a FREE Luna™ Interactive Projection Camera

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget about our TechSmith Give-Away for $299 Camtasia Studio Software!
click here to read the post

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pinterest for Teachers

Pinterest for Teachers

I've been amazed with how quickly Pinterest has 'caught on' in all markets - especially teaching.  Being the Twitter fan that I am, I held out on Pinterest.  Though I was one of the early users, I neglected my account for quite a while.  Honestly, the overstimulating visual boards drove me nuts!  I'm more of a linear person.  So, to have boards scattered all around just didn't work well for my obsessive compulsive nature.  Then, I decided to give it a go on my iPad.  I must admit, I typically only use Pinterest on my mobile devices due to the UI on my PC. 

Copyright Issues

After a delightful Skype conversation with Debbie Clement (who has over 4K Pinterest followers), I finally committed to using the tool.  Go figure that shortly after I became addicted to Pinterest there would be a huge copyright issue surrounding 'Pinning.'  You can read The Washington Post article here.  Here's a link to Pinterest's copyright page:  In fact, moments ago, Mashable just published an interesting piece regarding Amazon's take on Pinterest - click here to read this new story.  Lastly, here's another take from on Pinterest and sharing - click here to access this post.

I have a Pinterest board where I've been slowly collecting resources surrounding Pinterest.  You can access that board by clicking here.

Pinterest is Popular

Regardless of your opinion of Pinterest, there is no doubt that the site has been successful.  In my small corner of the blogosphere, I have connected with several teachers using Pinterest.  Teachers are using Pinterest in various ways.  Mostly, I find that teachers are using the tool to find ideas for their own teaching practice.  Twitter friend, Eric Sheninger (better known on Twitter as @NMHS_Principal), just published a post for Edutopia on Pinterest.  You can read his article here and see his web 2.0 technology board here

I would love to know your thoughts on Pinterest.  Are you using it as a teaching tool or as a professional tool?  I also invite you to join me on Pinterest by following my boards - click here

Creative Educators using Pinterest

If you have an idea or blog post about how you're using Pinterest,
leave a comment below and I'll add it to my "Pinterest for Teachers" board!

Pinerly - the Hootsuite of Pinterest?
want an invite? click here!

A new company, Pinerly, has just launched a Pinterest friendly dashboard.  The company is not affiliated with Pinterest.  They're slowly allowing users to join based on invitation only.  However, their invitations aren't by first come first serve.  You have to 'pull your weight in the social world' to get an invitation.  In other words, once you request an invitaion, you aren't accepted.  You're expected to get others to join, too.  If you get one friend to sign up, you're allowed a 'sneak peak' of Pinerly.  Then, when you have 5 friends request an invitation, you are issued an early invite.  I'm curious to see how this dashboard will catch on in relation to the attraction Pinterest has received.

The advantages of the Pinerly dashboard seem to be that you can schedule your Pins and get statistics about your Pins.  There seems to also be a favorites option along with a follow and unfollow feature. 

You can read more about Pinerly by clicking my referral link here.  My best comparison would be that Pinerly is the "Hootsuite" of Pinterest.

Apparently, I'm on the 'next batch' of invites... here's my email note: (so I'll let you know how it goes)

Your friends really love you! They just got you on the next batch of our invites to access to Pinerly. I guess coffees are on you ;)
We are rolling out invites slowly: (in case you were curious as to why)
You will be notified via e-mail once you gain access. We know this approach may be frustrating, but it allows us to test the platform and modify it to provide you with the best experience.!

11 Pinterest Apps And Tools To Enhance Your Pinning Experience
click here to view

Congrats to Pinterest:

Best New Start-Up at the 5th Annual Crunchies Awards, January 2012, David Lee presented the Best New Startup Award.

If you'd like a Pinerly invite, click here for my affiliate link.

Connect with me on Pinterest and click here to follow!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interactive White Board Apps for iPad: ScreenChomp, ShowMe, Educreations

The ShowMe Story - HD from ShowMe on Vimeo

3 IWB Apps - My Personal Review of Plus and Minus Features
click play on each IWB video below to see the features of each app

There are many interactive white board apps; however, these are my 3 favorite!

Screen Chomp by TechSmith Labs
(click here)


Show Me
click here)


Cross-Comparison of the 3 Apps - All Truly are Great!

Which Apps are you using?  What features do you like best? 
Leave your comments below!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dropbox + Pinterest + SMART Exchange for Teachers + Common Core = ClassConnect

Flip your Classroom, Just Store your Favorites, Find Common Core Content, and Share your Lessons

ClassConnect saves me time building lessons so I can focus on engaging & inspiring my students.

Eric and I just finished our first round of presenting this amazing tool to teachers for the first time since his product launched last week.  The positive response was overwhelming.

The credit goes to Eric.  He created an amazing tool for teachers - and he's only 20 years old!  I'm just lucky enough to have been beta testing his site over the summer.  I don't work for ClassConnect.  I just an elementary teacher loving what he's created and enjoying sharing it with others!

I'm happy to announce that both conferences had a packed house when we rolled out ClassConnect.  It was such a wonderful response having teachers so interested in ClassConnect.  Eric had requests to autograph iPads and even posed for photos!  It was surreal!  He is a genius!  It's no wonder Silicon Valley scooped up this young entrepreneur.

{Click Here to sign up for Free for ClassConnect}

Why Should I use ClassConnect

it's free.  it's easy.  saves time lesson planning.  find free resources.  organize all of your stuff.  flip your class.

Not only can you find free, great resources... but you can store them, too!

Why ClassConnect rocks:

- unlike Dropbox you can save everything (web, html, docx, etc...)
- unlike Pinterest you can save files, too!
- like Pinterest, you can 're-pin' or 're-post' by saving other's goodies to your files, too
- like the SMART Exchange you can find free lessons and save them to use
- unlike the SMART Exchange you can organize your SMART lessons with your other related items
- align your lessons and resources with the Common Core
- search for Common Core lessons and resources
- view YouTube videos with NO ads!
- share your lessons and resources with colleagues and students with one click
- upload your own content and flip your classroom
- if you like Teachers Pay Teachers, you'll love the freebies on ClassConnect!
- if you post to Teachers Pay Teachers, you'll love creating a network of followers on ClassConnect for your freebies 

Once you find great resources, tag them with the Common Core and share them publicly!
Then, start searching for content you can use by the Common Core!

ClassConnect saves you time and allows you to easily and effectively flip your classroom.

click play to see a complete 10 minute tutorial showcasing the amazing potential of ClassConnect

Teacher Tip:

Keep in mind, even if you aren't completely flipping your class, you can still use videos and lessons within ClassConnect to 'free up your time' so that you can make it to those small groups you need to meet with.  Even if students can't view content from home, put them on your desktop at school while you work with another small group on a hands-on activity.  Then, switch your groups.  You can even have student groups creating the content via Educreations or Camtasia Studio!

Resources from the Video Above:
 (though it's ten minutes, the video is packed full of ClassConnect features!)

  • click here to make IWB videos with your iPad via Educreations
  • click here to download your free 30 day trial of Camtasia Studio via TechSmith
  • click here to view my ClassConnect content

Sal Khan and The Gates Foundation on Flipping your Classroom recently seen on 60 minutes...

While I use and appreciate Sal Khan and The Khan Academy, I have been disappointed that I've only been able to use the videos by viewing the content.  However, now with ClassConnect, I can put the Khan videos into my files along with all of the supplemental resources and lessons that go with that paticular concept that matches the video.  I'm excited to have one folder that contains the video/lesson, document files/assessment(s), and interactive companion websites.  With Camtasia Studio, I can even create quizzes within my lessons for immediate student feedback.  Of course, I place the Camtasia lessons into ClassConnect as well!!

Want to Create Videos Like Sal Khan? - Try Camtasia Studio!

Enter the Give-Away below (click read more) to WIN Camtasia Studio ($299) to Flip your Class!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Eric Simons, 20 year old software developer, has created ClassConnect for free for teachers!

You can read Eric's full story here.  His hope is to create one site where teachers can simplify their planning, save time, and engage students.  He is doing this because of an inspirational teacher he had in high school, Ms. Bennett.  If you're a fellow blogger, help spread the word of this great resource by blogging about ClassConnect.  If you're not a blogger, share it with your colleagues via email or Facebook.  Invite colleages after you sign up and get free storage, too!  Most of all, share your content publicly to the site to build the free archives for teachers everywhere - what a great platform... truly a place where teachers collaborate and share for free - so students benefit!

Resources for ClassConnect:

People to follow on ClassConnect: simply 'add colleague'
(add your ClassConnect url as a comment below in this post!)

*Be sure to claim your ClassConnect url when you sign up for a free account.*

    Recent Blog Posts about ClassConnect:

    Be sure your entered above for a chance to WIN a free Camtasia Studio software license!

      Tuesday, March 6, 2012

      Edmodo opens their front doors for the safe use of all your favorite sites!

      Use your favorite sites, safely within Edmodo!

      I posted about Edmodo over a year ago; you can read all about it by clicking here.  Now, I'd like to announce that today Edmodo has opened their doors for third party sites to work within their platform.  Now, you can have your favorites sites within one home site, Edmodo.

      Thanks to my friends at MasteryConnect for telling me of this exciting news!

      Over 1,700 Free Educational Videos!

      MasteryConnect is now the largest network of teachers 
      sharing and collaborating around the Common Core.

      MasteryConnect is a place to share common assessments aligned to standards, connect in a professional learning community, and track student performance.  I'm super excited to announce that our sponsor has even more in store for their users...

      They've just completed the integration of over 1,700 Khan Academy videos aligned to the Common Core!  These are available to both Free and Premium Users, right now.  Here's a blog post announcing the integration:

      You can {click here} to sign up for MasteryConnect for Free!  Be sure to get the free app, too!

      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Breaking News: ClassConnect Launches Today!

      Dropbox + Diigo + Free Lessons & Resources = ClassConnect

      ClassConnect makes building, organizing and sharing lessons insanely simple. It supports all types of lesson content (website links, embed codes, online videos), not just files. You can also search for & use lessons that other teachers have built, giving you more time to teach & inspire your students. Collaboration is a key feature of ClassConnect, and it's really exciting to see teachers working together to streamline the lesson planning process. We've even started a movement called “United We Teach” encouraging educators to share and enhance each other’s resources.

      Teachers are using ClassConnect to:   
      • Find great resources and lessons (saving them a ton of time!)
      • Organize all of their lessons into one place
      • Build lessons collaboratively with teachers across the hall & around the world   
      • Share lessons with students, parents, colleagues & the world
      What a lesson folder looks like (notice how websites, YouTube videos & files coexist!)


      Key differences between ClassConnect and similar tools:
      • It's very similar to your “My Documents” folder. You can organize folders into folders, keeping your lessons compartmentalized.
      • You can use other teacher's resources without downloading anything – we can instantly snap them into your desired lesson's folder directly on ClassConnect.
      • Teachers can build lessons together with the best collaboration software around.
      • Lessons aren't just files – they're also interactive websites, games, and videos. ClassConnect allows you to organize all of your lesson content in the same place, including web content.   
      • When a lesson is updated, everyone that the lesson is shared with are automatically notified
        Your saved YouTube videos play directly within ClassConnect - with No Ads!

      Notice how if you see a video you like on another teacher's site, you can just click 'add to my files' to have the same resource in your files!'s kind of like 're-pinning on Pinterest.'  You can also encourage collaboration, reflection, and discussion in comment threads under video and document resources.  

      On ClassConnect, the process is:
      1. Find awesome lessons & snap them into your lessons (no downloading required).
      2. Build your lessons.
       A document stored in a lesson (no software required to view docs - just a browser!)

      Get Started Now and Check out These Ground Breaking Features:

      • {click here} to read more about the exciting United We Teach movement 
      • {click here} to read more about the 20 year old Silicon Valley software developer
      • {click here} to follow the young entrepreneur, Eric Simons, on Twitter
      • {click here} to browse the ClassConnect blog
      But, certainly, be sure to {CLICK HERE} and join the innovative educators on ClassConnect!
      As a teacher, you'll enjoy having all of your favorite resources in ONE spot.  Plus, browse through other teacher's files and save yourself time.  Connect with teachers around the world to share great content and have one spot to store and safely view your resources and lessons!