Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Griffin Survivor iPad Case

Right now I have a love/hate relationship with the Griffin Survivor iPad case. I love how sturdy it is but it makes it hard to label them:( With this case it's vital to have numbered wallpaper on your iPads
It's "military grade".
The first step was getting these new cases on the iPads. We were using the Smart Covers which were great but they didn't offer much protection.
So yeah, about these Griffin Survivor Cases. There are a million parts and I could NOT figure out the directions. So I turned to the internet, of course. Here is the vid I used in case you're wondering about the process. The case in the video does not have the clip on the side that acts as a stand, but the rest of the install process is the same.

After watching this vid about 3 times I was able to install the cases:) We bought enough for half of my lab iPads (15 cases), $52 a piece. Yeah, I know. But it's great not to have to cringe every time a preschooler picks up an iPad.
The headphone jack, charge port, rear camera, and speaker are covered with removable plastic flaps. The front camera and home button are also covered by the frame of the built in screen cover.
I hope to get more of these this school year for the rest of my lab set. What iPad cases do you use?
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Monday, November 24, 2014

My Tech Alphabet ~ Part 2

This technology based alphabet is one of my favorite items in my room and is often commented on by visitors. I couldn't find one I liked so I made my own and I am completely in love with it!
It goes across the top of the bulletin board at the front of my lab and just looks perfect with the pennants on the wall above it.
I wanted an alphabet that was in portrait and not landscape (EVERY tech alphabet I came across was in landscape!) and I wanted it to match my color scheme. I used Keynote to make it - I love Keynote:)

Since it has some trademarked logos I didn't put it up for sale on TpT. Now that I have figured out Google Drive a little I have decided to put it up for free on my blog:) The copy I have posted has a white background instead of a brown one so it will match any classroom or lab decor. Grab it here and please leave a comment to let me know if you use it.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Computer Lab Visual Lesson Plans W15

 Click here to see my lesson plans for the lab this week.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Technology Thursday Linky: Why I Love PhotoSync


For the last few of years I've named my own personal "App of the Year", an app that has actually changed the way I live my life. This honor has been bestowed on the apps Next Issue, Buster, and in the first year these awards were held in my brain, PhotoSync.

Before PhotoSync my life was a series of cords and trying to keep iPhoto from importing every photo on my iPhone every time I plugged it into my computer to get the 2 or three pics I actually wanted. I avoided taking pics off of my phone because of that. With PhotoSync I can grab any pic I want and send it to my phone, iPad or computer SUPER fast and easy. Did I mention that you can also move VIDEO??? (Cue the angel chorus).

I personally use this feature extensively, since my iPhone doubles as a video camera for me. At school this feature is priceless, everyone uses iPads for recording. All of the computers at my school are named so you just have to send your work to "Lab 23" or "2nd Grade 1" and your work ends up where it needs to be!

Here is a short video demo:
The app is for iOS and now Android devices ($2.99). The app for your computer (Mac and Windows) is free.

If you don't have PhotoSync, get it. NOW!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wonderful Website - Chart Chums

Chartchums is a site that will help you take your anchor chart making to a whole new level! Marjorie Martinelli and Kristi Mraz will help you create amazing, informative anchor charts even if you don't know how to draw. They have two books out now - Smarter Charts and the brand new Smarter Charts for Math, Science, and Social Studies. There is also an online course you can take with them through the Heinemann Digital Campus called Smarter Charts: Bringing Charts to life.

Click here to visit Chartchums!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Headphone Storage in the Lab

My students store their headphones on the right side of their computers, cords on the front of the monitor, when they leave the lab. This storage works great for these headphones. This year though, I needed extra headphone storage because of a new addition to my lab - TABLES!

I love the 5 tables I now have in my lab, they are perfect for iPad use. I had been switching the headphones from the computers to the tables but that was making me crazy. I bought some headphones from the Dollar Tree but they were absolute garbage. I lucked out and found some headphones from School Outfitters for $3.88 each! These headphones are fantastic, I love them! The cords are super think and not too long. Great quality. They were even packed perfectly, see?
How do I keep track of what headphones belong where? Keep reading:)
Step one: Number The Tables. I have 5 tables and they each have one of these picture frames with the table number in it. But what's that green strip about? It's the color for Table 2! 
Step Two: Color Coding. This is an import part of my system. It lets me, and the kids, know at a glance what headphones belong where. I found a set of colored electrical tape at the Dollar Tree. Score!
Step Three: Storage. Guess what else I found at the Dollar Tree? Pink tortilla warmers! Perfect for holding 6 pairs of headphones at each table. I also numbered each bin and added colored tape on the inside bottom, side and outside bottom of each one.

The last of the tape went around each set of headphones! Each table set of six is color coded.
Below is what a set of headphones looks like on one of my tables.
How do you store headphones in your classroom/computer lab?
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Scoop

Linking up with Kristen and Juliet from Teaching Trio for this week's Sunday Scoop!

Go link up at Teaching Trio to share your Sunday Scoop!

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Computer Lab Visual Lesson Plans W14

 Click here to see my lesson plans for the lab this week.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Technology Thursday Linky: How To Have All Your Stuff Wherever You Need It

Sweet fancy Moses! I LOVE DROPBOX!

Dropbox has changed the way I work and teach. When I heard of it for the first time I really didn't understand what it did or how it worked. Now I can't live without it. After a month of using it I bumped up from the free version that holds 2 GB of your stuff to the $9.99 a month version that holds 1 TB (1,000 GB) of your stuff.

I know. Too much stuff.

What exactly is Dropbox and how does it allow you to have all of your stuff wherever you need it? Dropbox is basically like having a folder of your work on every computer you work on. Watch the video below for a great explanation.

The reason I decided to give it a try was because I, like everyone else, was doing the USB shuffle every time I wanted to move a file around. I have a computer at my desk and also a computer at the front of my lab that is connected to my ActivBoard.

I have the ActivInspire software at my desk and at the front of the room but before Dropbox if I made a Flipchart at my desk using the software I had to figure out how to get it up to the computer at the front of the room. Not anymore! I just drop it in my Dropbox and it's ready to go.

Now I will admit this all hinges on your internet connection. I no longer keep my everyday Flipcharts on there because there was a day the internet was out and I couldn't get to them! That doesn't happen often at my school but it does happen so those things live on my desktop now. What Dropbox is great for is moving files around and storage. I love it for that and use it everyday, multiple times a day to access things.

Right now I have Dropbox on my iPhone, iPad, laptop, home computer, the computer on my desk, and every computer in my lab! I will be teaching the 8th Graders about it this year - I hear some high schools require the kids to use Dropbox, so I want all of the 8th Graders to know what it is and how it works.

The only other tip I would give is to decide on a file structure and keep it organized when you start using it. Mine is a little out of control because like that junk drawer in your kitchen it's really easy to just dump things in there. Keep it neat:)

Make sure you head over to Teaching Trio to check out other Tech Tips and Tricks with their linky!

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This Year's Teacher Study Group

Hey! I'm in the Big Shoulders Fund study group again that I blogged about here.

This year our book is Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching by Regie Routman (Amazon Link). I love it so far. I kinda hate writing and this book makes me want to write more.

Also thought I'd share a pic of all of the goodies from the first meeting:)
Have you read this book? If so what did you think about it?
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wonderful Website - Free Technology For Teachers

Free stuff is amazing, no? This site has a dizzying amount of info. Looking for a free tech "something" for teaching? You are bound to find it here.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

My Classroom Instagram Poster

This summer I discovered the coolest poster set ever on Instagram from thirdgradethinking (For His Glory Teaching), an Instagram poster for your classroom!
My favorite thing about this poster was that she designed it to be printed on 3 sheets of 11 by 17 inch paper or card stock (I chose card stock). Tape them together and you end up with a big poster:) I went to Office Max to get mine printed and laminated. I taped it together in the store, see below. 
As you can see there are squares on the poster. She made spots for you to put 4x6 prints on and keep them neat and lined up. Super helpful but I wanted the "authentic" Instagram look - square pics. You can get square pics from your Instagram using the Walgreens photo app. They aren't cheap (.39 cents a print) so choose your pics wisely. I had a bunch, $13 worth.
So, the pics were square but the spots on the poster were 4x6. Now what? Well I decided to add 2 sheets of blank 11x17 poster board to cover the lines and give me a blank poster. I taped them in place then had the whole thing laminated in the store. Total cost for construction was about $10 but I LOVE THIS POSTER!
I printed out a copy of my best selfie ever and cut it out in a circle to match the shape on the poster. I covered it with clear packing tape. Then I added my name using a Vis-a-Vis marker and taped the photos on using a bit of Scotch tape.
After all of those sheets of cardstock and lamination this was kinda heavy. I used strips of  Scotch Mounting Tape to hang this on the front door of my lab. People love it!
Below is a wide view of my front entrance:)
Get your Classroom Instagram Poster for only $2.50 from the For His Glory TpT store today!

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