Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your All Access Pass to the Bammy Awards!

Nick Provenzano, Eric Sheninger, Kyle Pace, Erin Klein, Joan Young, Adam Bellow

The Bammy Awards
Washington D.C. 2012

I recently had the pleasure of attending the first ever Bammy Awards in Washington D.C. this September.  The Bammys are presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International.  They recognize excellence throughout the education field - from teachers, principals and superintendents, to school nurses, support staff, advocates, researchers, early childhood specialists, education journalists, and parents.  

More About the Bammys:
  • You can read more about the Bammy Awards by clicking here to connect to their about page.
  • For the June 11, 2012 press release, click here.
  • For the National Association of Elementary Principals Yahoo press release, click here.
  • For the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences press release, click here.
  • For the National PTA press release, click here.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jarrett
The event truly was a special evening.  A limousine brought the twenty educators I was with to the red carpet in front of the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater where we were greeted by photographers and the press.   

Upon arriving, many hugs and smiles were shared as we joined our friends from across the country.  Most of us stay connected through Twitter and blogging.  Conferences allow for us to finally meet face to face and collaborate on a new level while sharing ideas and exchanging friendly conversation.  This event provided a relaxing venue where we could simply take in the beautiful city and enjoy ourselves without preparing presentations or double checking session schedules to attend. 

More about the red carpet:
  • Rae Pica interviews Diane Ravitch, Randi Weingarten, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan - click here
  • Kevin Jarrett's Flickr Collection - click here

Taylor Mali speaks at The Bammy Awards

 
 
 As the twenty educators I was with sat together, we clapped as leaders in education were awarded and recognized for their efforts in helping to make a positive change for students.  The ceremony felt surreal.  Recipients walked onto stage, received their trophy, and delivered an acceptance speech.  Parts of the evening included entertaining segments from Taylor Mali and Jimmy Burns.  The Twitterati took the stage to get recognized for their efforts in sharing resources with the educational community online.  It was enjoyable to see so many wonderful people get recognized for their dedication to the field.

More about the awards:
  • Select and watch any of the 18 individual award presentations - click here
  • Listen to the Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra - click here
  • Lifetime Achievement Awards:
          - Diane Ravitch: click here
          - Linda Darling Hammond: click here
          - John Merrow: click here

Angela Maiers, Steven Anderson, Erin Klein, Kyle Pace, and Salome Thomas

I often say that teaching is not what I do, it's who I am.  I'm fortunate because I work in a supportive school where I'm surrounded by such talented and inspiring colleagues.  My online community doesn't feel like a distant, virtual world.  My friends I've made through social media mean just as much to me as the colleagues I see every day.  Both networks allow me to grow as a professional and a person.  Because of the people I surround myself with, I continue to learn from so that my students receive the best I can offer.  They are the reason I teach.  They deserve my personal best.  Thank you to all those that inspire me daily!

More about Bammy attendees:
  • The First National Education Tweet Up - click here
  • Bammy Twitter List (great people to follow) - click here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Claco: a free social search engine for content, lessons, and interactive resources!


Don't Google for great content - Claco for content!

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

Educators are using Claco 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 and around the world   
  • Share lessons with students, parents, colleagues and the world

It's like Pinterest + Dropbox + Social Sharing Features for Files and Lessons!

Click Here to Access my Reading Workshop files!

and 

Click Here to Access my entire Claco Teaching Portfolio!

Key differences between Claco and similar tools:
  • You can use other teacher's resources without downloading anything – you can instantly snap them into your desired lesson's folder directly on Claco.
  • Finding educators to collaborate with takes only seconds.
  • Lessons aren't just files – they're also interactive websites, games, and videos. Claco allows you to organize all of your lesson content in the same place, including web content.

Important Details:
Claco is free and always will be. In the future we may have premium upgrades, but the core service will always remain free.

Get your Invitation to Access the Site:
Because Claco is in private beta, they're only able to accept a limited number of applicants at a time.  They have, however, reserved 50 invitations for Kleinspiration readers.  Yay!  This will be on a first come basis.  If you'd like access to the site, simply mention "Kleinspiration" in the about section when you sign up.  You'll be invited on the very next round of invites! 

Click here for your guaranteed invitation to access the site!

*First 50 will get automatic access*

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Using your SMART Doc Cam with your SMART Board


Why have a favorite tool?  Use them all together to enhance each device!

Teachers often wish we had more class time to spend with our students.  It seems like we always have so much we'd like to do in such a short about of time.  This is a good problem to have!  We love our jobs, and always want more time to do creative activities with the students we enjoy teaching.  On occasion, there are, however, those precious moments that allow for ten minutes here or there because a lesson finishes early or the schedule opens up a bit.

We finished a math lesson a bit early last week, and I wanted to extend the lesson further by allowing the students to engage with the concept in a different way than which we were just doing in our curriculum.  We only had about 7 minutes before lunch, but I didn't want those minutes to be lost.  I quickly glanced around and noticed my time flash cards sitting on my math game shelf.  

I knew the cards would be too small to hold up to the children as a whole group.  I figured I'd put them under my document camera one at a time.  I could call upon students to answer when the answer was identified.  This is not my style.  I like to have as many children engaged with the task at once - not one answering at a time.  I had the class pull out their dry erase boards, markers, and erasers.  Everyone would now be responsible for each flash card I'd place under the camera.  


There are many sites that offer random ways to select students.  Some even allow you to put in your class list so each name will generate instead of a number.  Being that it was the second week of school, I did not yet have this set up for my class.  Therefor, I used Random Number Generator.  I put in numbers 1 - the total number of students in my class.  The children loved the element of surprise as each number was generated.  Then that student got to share their dry erase response with their friends.  The pace was fast and the engagement was high.



I use the dual page display a lot in my classroom.  As a loyal SMART Board user, I really enjoy the Notebook software.  Last year I was selected to be a SMART Exemplar Educator.  I continue to enjoy finding new tricks to do with the software and the board.  One of my new favorite tools is the SMART Internet browser.  I use to run the transparent background over the internet so that I could incorporate the Notebook tools.  Now I don't have to since I can add the browser widget with one click.

I recently found an article on Pinterst sharing over 50 ways to use your document camera in your classroom: click here to read the full post.  

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New features of SMART Notebook 11:


*I am an Amazon Affiliate*

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Web 2.0 Content Creation: A Quick Guide

Web 2.0 Tools in Education Series
Content Creation Tools: A Quick Guide

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a resource that explained, in detail, everything you needed to know about creating content online: what tools were available, how to sign up, getting started, etc.?

There are a lot of great content creation tools out there today, and many can save you a lot of time.  Whether you are fully flipping your class or just looking to streamline some of your workload, there is something out there for everybody.

Personally, I'm an avid user of many different platforms for content creation.  I've used Educreations since the product first launched, I use Camtasia almost daily, and I'm a big fan of Glogster as well.  On occasion, however, I find that even a frequent user can get stuck on a certain function and need a little help.  No need to panic - I've got my trusty Web 2.0 quick guide, which can help me sort out the new tool in a snap.

Content Creation Tools
click here to download the free e-book 

Dr. Mohamed Amin Embi (a brilliant mind) has been developing an educational series of web 2.0 tools.  Now, we can all get more comfortable with the language of the collaboration tools we may have been avoiding.  One of his most recent collections in his series is: Content Creation ToolsThis e-book is available for free through Scribd.  You can view it online for free, download it for a cost, and even print a copy to organize in a binder (Scribd members).  The resource is organized into ten chapters.  
Each chapter thoroughly explains what the tool is, advantages of using the tool, ways to incorporate it into education, detailed pictures guiding you through getting started, and references.

The detailed pictures really support understanding the tool:


Once you are on the Scribd site to view this resource, I encourage you to share it with others so that we can all benefit from these tools.  You can download the document or embed it onto another platform.  If you have the following networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, please be sure to click the buttons you will see to the left of the document and share this resource.



Find this book and more on Scoop.it

He has also made it really easy to access this resource along with many others on his Scoop.it page.  I'm already a follower.  If you'd like quick access to his Web 2.0 Series, click here to bookmark this page.  Be sure to click 'follow.'



{click here to follow Web 2.0 OER on Scoop.it}



Disclaimer: Web 2.0 OER is a sponsor of this site

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Free Common Core Professional Development from @TenMarks



In these trying economic times, we've seen many schools going through difficult budget issues.  When there are decisions being made to cut entire programs or increase class size counts, one of the items that is usually first to fall will be professional development.  As teachers, we all know how important good professional development opportunities can for our own personal growth, and how often the ability to attend a session can impact whether or not teachers can actually receive the training and development that they desire.  If there is a training that we really want (or need) to attend, but it happens to require a heavy travel budget, it isn't uncommon to be told that there simply isn't money for that.  Luckily, there are some great professional development opportunities out there which can be found for a low or no cost and provide the same great training. 

In the past few years, we've seen a move toward professional developments that can you can participate in online, from your classroom, kitchen, or anywhere else you can get connected.  This movement was really very teacher driven, with wikis and google spaces and chats such as the New Teacher Chat popping up, followed by a number of educational companies entering the mix.  

TenMarks is one of those companies that will soon begin entering into the world of accessible professional development, with their free Webinar Wednesday series.  In addition to professional development surrounding how to better utilize their TenMarks math package, TenMarks is also venturing into hosting professional developments on a wider range of subjects.


TenMarks Professional Development Series:



On September 26th at 4pm EST, in the first of their two-part webinar series on Common Core State Standards hosted by Engaging Educators (Ben Curran and Neil Wetherbee), they'll be discussing shifts in teaching necessary to accommodate and implement the CCSS in today's classroom. The session will concentrate on key areas of mathematical focus for grades K-8, and will discuss the transition away from the "mile wide, inch deep" approach to math instruction. 

Presenters will also introduce participants to new resources and collaboration tools to help demystify the Common Core State Standards. The second webinar in this series is scheduled on October 17th at 4pm EST and will focus on assessments with the CCSS.

Ben Curran and Neil Wetherbee are an instructional coach and fifth grade teacher, respectively, in Detroit, Michigan. They are the co-founders of
Engaging Educators, a firm dedicated to helping teachers engage the future.

Space is limited, so register today, and share with your friends and colleagues.





Click below to:

learn more about Webinar Wednesday

Follow TenMarks on Twitter

Check Out TenMarks Math 






Disclosure: TenMarks is a sponsor of Kleinspiration

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

@ABCyaGames Base Ten Fun!

Base Ten Fun Game to Practice Math Facts

ABCyaGames has many games for many grade levels.  I love to feature fun activities from their site.  Every time I prepare a post for ABCya, my kids come running up to the computer.  They love the sounds of the games and the bright animation bouncing off the screen.  

I recently found Base Ten Fun.  This game, like all games on their site, is super easy to get started and to play.  Once you click 'go', you are prompted to select between Read & Make, Listen & Make, and Count & Write.  Then you simply drag and drop the tens and ones that you need to make a number, or use the keypad to enter the number that has already been made on your screen.

Base Ten Fun is an educational virtual manipulatives activity for kids learning place value, addition and subtraction. Base Ten Fun is highly customizable; kids can select from ones, tens and hundreds.  Each mode has audio support and written instructions describing how to play. As a bonus children are able to select different colored block sets when the get 10 correct!


{click here to play Base Ten Fun yourself & have fun}


Disclaimer: ABCyaGames is a sponsor of Kleinspiration

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Back to School Special Offer from @LakeshoreLM



Lakeshore Learning is known for creating award-winning educational products for schools and families to provide a high-quality education for every child.  Lakeshore is often recognized for its exceptional educational products found in schools and homes across the country. Lakeshore has been around for over 58 years and has 56 stores nationwide.  Offering a myriad of products, games, activities and learning toys for children from early childhood to elementary education, Lakeshore makes learning fun! 

To kick off this school year on the right foot, Lakeshore has generously offered to provide all Kleinspiration readers with up to $15 off any purchase over $75.  There are also offers for $5 on a $25 purchase and $10 on a $50 purchase.  Simply click here to take advantage of this opportunity.

So when coupled with a $50 purchase, this special offer could cover the entire cost of a great product that I tried out this summer with my kids, in order to help reinforce some basic addition facts while school was out.  Addition Match-Ups (item# TT428) is a great tool for 4-6 year olds working on learning addition facts and reinforcing existing knowledge.  As children put together these super-simple match-ups, they create and solve simple math problems! The set includes 20 two-piece puzzles with a problem on one half and the answer on the other…with helpful picture clues that kids can count to reach the total! Plus, each 3" x 9" puzzle is self-correcting—for instant reinforcement. 

A great feature of this tool is that the all of math facts fit properly the way that you would want them to.  The creators took great care to ensure that all of the 10's fit all of the proper math facts (5+5, 8+2, etc) regardless of which 10 you pull from the box.  This allows students to instantly reinforce that they've done their math correctly.  The puzzle component is simply what makes it a bit more fun - the answer section of the puzzle is blank aside from the number, making the math the focus, not the puzzle.


To use your Kleinspiration special offer, click here

Learn more about Lakeshore on:
  





Friday, September 7, 2012

Free and Simple Sharing of Common Assessments with @MasteryConnect

 
 
 
Back-to-school, what an exciting part of the year!  As we put the finishing touches on the organization of our space, we are also beginning to design our curriculum. Much of this process involves getting acclimated to new tech tools we may have inherited or found over the summer. While some of us open a new gadget, others may practice a new web tool. If you haven't checked out MasteryConnect as a new web tool, I highly recommend exploring the potential this site has to offer.

As a long-time sponsor of Kleinspiration, I occasionally recieve questions asking what Mastery Connect is all about.  I try to answer them to the best of my knowledge, however I always feel it is best to hear the information right from the developer themselves - as I can become biased to certain functions and completely miss something that would be of interest to you. 

Luckily, Mastery Connect has made explaining what they are all about very easy to share with others.  Recently, they've released a short, animated video that explains Mastery Connect “in a nutshell”. The video stars three teachers all working to collaborate around formative assessment and mastery learning. We think you might be able to relate!  Mastery Connect would love for you to check it out and tweet, like, or pin it!
 
 
 
 
  To learn more about Mastery Connect you can

follow on Twitter

like on Facebook

or check out their blog
 
 
Disclosure: Mastery Connect is a sponsor of Kleinspiration

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Web 2.0 Research Tools: A Quick Guide

Web 2.0 Tools in Education Series
Research Tools: A Quick Guide

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a resource that explained, in detail, everything you needed to know about using online researching tools: what tools were available, how to sign up, getting started, etc.?

There are a lot of great web tools out there today, and many can save you a lot of time when you are researching for a project.  Whether it is surveying a group on a certain subject, jotting down ideas for further exploration at a later date, or simply taking notes for somebody that was unavailable at a meeting, there is something for everybody.  

Personally, I'm an avid user of many different platforms for researching.  Each of the platforms described in the quick guide has a specific function in my world - some for surveys, some for notes, and some to collaborate.  Each are excellent resources and have been a huge benefit to me.  On occasion however, I sill find that I may need to use a function that I am a novice at, or a colleague wants to use a different platform.  No need to panic - I've got my trusty Web 2.0 quick guide, which can help me sort out the new tool in a snap.

Research Tools
click here to download the free e-book 

Dr. Mohamed Amin Embi (a brilliant mind) has been developing an educational series of web 2.0 tools.  Now, we can all get more comfortable with the language of the collaboration tools we may have been avoiding.  One of his most recent collections in his series is: Research ToolsThis e-book is available for free through Scribd.  You can view it online for free, download it for a cost, and even print a copy to organize in a binder (Scribd members).  The resource is organized into ten chapters.  
Each chapter thoroughly explains what the tool is, advantages of using the tool, ways to incorporate it into education, detailed pictures guiding you through getting started, and references.

The detailed pictures really support understanding the tool:


Once you are on the Scribd site to view this resource, I encourage you to share it with others so that we can all benefit from these tools.  You can download the document or embed it onto another platform.  If you have the following networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, please be sure to click the buttons you will see to the left of the document and share this resource.



Find this book and more on Scoop.it

He has also made it really easy to access this resource along with many others on his Scoop.it page.  I'm already a follower.  If you'd like quick access to his Web 2.0 Series, click here to bookmark this page.  Be sure to click 'follow.'



{click here to follow Web 2.0 OER on Scoop.it}



Disclaimer: Web 2.0 OER is a sponsor of this site

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Help Prepare Children for Success in Life with free e-book Timmy Tuna


I am thrilled to introduce HumanBean as our newest Kleinspiration sponsor and partner.  HumanBean has taken on a very significant purpose in the education of our children.  Their stated mission is: "to help you prepare your children for success in life"  While this is no small challenge, HumanBean makes effective use of books, video, and other tools to help us teach our kids about the benefits of teamwork, making and keeping friends, and a variety of other skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

This month, we are featuring the HumanBean book Timmy Tuna,  an entertaining and beautifully illustrated book about a mighty Tuna fish who gets caught in a net and discovers that even with his great power he cannot break free. When a humble jellyfish and a bashful crab help him escape he learns that when we work together we can do great things. Written by David Machin for HumanBean, this story is designed to teach the benefits of Teamwork to children aged 6-10.





Teamwork can have unexpected benefits for children. David tells the story of when his daughter, Ella, moved to a new school when she was 7 years old. Being a shy girl and not knowing anyone, she found it hard to settle in and make friends. David suggested she join the school hockey team and 'be sure to pass the ball a lot!'. Working together with her team to win games was great for developing her social skills (and confidence). Soon she had many friends and learned a lot about balancing her needs with the needs of others.

Timmy Tuna has been written specifically to introduce this vital life skill to children at an early age.

David Machin has written more children's stories which are available on HumanBean - each uses a key life skill to boost confidence, self esteem and sociability in boys and girls aged 6-10.






To get the free e-book Timmy Tuna, click here.

To learn more about HumanBean on Facebook, click here




Disclosure: HumanBean is a sponsor of Kleinspiration

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by @mariadismondy Becomes a Musical!


Big News: Maria Dismondy's first book is becoming a musical!!!


That's right, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are is going to become a real life musical in the very near future.  As a friend and follower or Maria's, I couldn't be happier for her upon reading this fantastic news.  It must be absolutely incredible to see something that she has put so much work into come to life on the big stage.  Who knows.....maybe a movie in the future??  Congratulations Maria on a great accomplishment!!


You can read more of the exciting news first-person from Maria here 








Read the Kleinspiration review


 Buy the book


Follow Maria on Twitter




Maria also hosts two Linky Parties:
click here to link up

*You can get the special badges below for your site ~ click here for the cute options*

The first is Make a Difference Monthly. Bloggers can link up all month long about an idea on how they teach a specific character trait. In one month alone, she had twenty bloggers link up with ideas, videos, books, songs, etc. to teach respect. She would love to get more participants since this is a great resource for both families and teachers to find ways to incorporate character education into the home/classroom.





The second is Things I Love Thursdays. This linky party occurs weekly, every Thursday.  Bloggers can link up about a product they enjoy. It's a great break from daily blogging about the same old stuff!





More can be found out here:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bringing the Garden Inside: A Look Into My Classroom!


My Classroom Space

I changed the layout of my room a bit from last year.  Upon entering, you use to step into our classroom library; however, I realized I wanted a large, open space that lent itself not only to reading but also to game play and collaboration.  


As soon as you step through our double french doors, you will see our art supplies on the left.  This is also the area where I put all of our additional supplies: markers, crayons, scissors, etc.


Each student has a pencil case inside his or her desk.  Inside the case, I've placed the following items: dry erase marker, mini dry eraser, two sharpened pencils, eraser, scissors, crayons, glue stick, pen, colored marker, highlighter, and sticky notes.  As a child runs low, he or she will be able to re-stock their materials as needed.


The "Craft Box" bulletin board is in our open space area.  During writer's workshop, students often write around the room (finding comfortable nooks to engage with their stories).  As children write, I wanted this board to be in an open space that is easily accessible.  We will add craft elements to the board as we come to them in our reading and writing.  


Below the board is our snack station.  We have hand sanitizer, cutlery, and the snack basket.  I also keep my teaching supplies under the Craft Box bulletin board.


As you enter the room, your eyes are immediately drawn outside to the beautiful children's garden.  On each side of the band of windows, I have two tall bookshelves.  One holds the games for math and the other holds the games for language arts.

I have the games shelved by category/concept.  For example, I tried to group the place value games together on the top shelf.  The fraction games are on the second shelf...


Through the windows, looking outdoors is the children's garden and a quiet running brook.  This is a serene setting for young authors.  The students love going outside to write on a crisp fall day!


Our room is long and narrow.  Space planning is always interesting when rooms are unique sizes.


I love the beautiful stained glass windows that line the rear facade of our room.  I did add curtains to the other remaining windows to soften the space.  In addition, I added a wrought iron decorative feature above the windows opposite our open space.  


The photo above shows a look back at our open space as seen in many photographs above.  As you enter the classroom area, you'll notice my desk in the left of this photo and my curriculum files in white crates on the right side.


Because the bulletin behind my desk is rather difficult to change, I wanted a display that would stay throughout the year.  Thus, I posted the comprehension strategies: "Keys to Comprehension."  I also hung wrought iron decorative keys I picked up from Hobby Lobby.


I like to keep my lesson in files.  I have used binders in the past, but I always go back to files.  I find they're easy to change out, add to, and subtract from when needed.  I printed sunflower labels and placed them on each crate for: reading, writing, math, social studies, word study, and seasonal.


I split up my library this year.  I still have my genres together, but I've made a special place for my science and social studies books.


There are built in bookshelves on each side of the back bay of windows.  On the left I've placed my science books on display.


My social studies books are on the right side of the windows.  There is a bit of white wall space on each side that will be the home to anchor charts as we explore certain concepts in the content area.


The front of my room has my SMART Board with a bulletin board on each side.  Our class expectations are under the SMART Board beside our daily graphing chart.  My desk is on the right.  My focus board is on the left.


I love the way my focus board works this year.  I am not a fan of white, so I had to cover my white board with fabric.  I used thick ribbon as the border and hot glued two sunflowers at the top on each corner.  Because the fabric is thin, the board still has magnetic capabilities.  

I placed four magnetic mini-boards on the large focus board.  I printed custom labels to go above each mini board.  I also purchased a long dry erase board to display the date in the middle.  Below the date are two strips of cork board so that I can pin anchor charts in the center.  


On the long shelf is the spot for students to turn in homework and notes.  This is also where we return dull pencils and select sharp ones.  Under the shelf is the spot for my partner reading books.  We have many copies of the same book so children can buddy up to share a great story and discuss it in a book club manner.

In the far left of this photo, you can see our easel.  I've posted our tooth chart and birthday poster on the front of this piece.

I will use the tall plastic shelf to put my centers/activities in each drawer for guided reading.

 I keep my mentor texts for reading and writing workshop inside the cabinets above our display book shelves.  Below the shelves are my leveled texts for guided reading.


Our jobs bulletin board has clear library pockets with Popsicle sticks containing the student's names on each.  As the jobs change, I simply move the sticks. 

Our room colors are earth tones, and our theme is the garden.  We have accents of bees, owls, and sunflowers throughout our space.  Thank you for checking out our classroom.

A special thank you to those that post such amazing ideas on Pinterest!


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