Currently April

Listening-  This NEVER happens.  Seriously.  I know I'm going to pay for "staying up late" tonight when they are up bright and early in the morning.

Loving-  Ahhhh!  Spring break.  :-)  But that means there is not a single day off until summer!  It might be a long two months!

Thinking-  Summer!  This warm weather must have warped my thinking today.  I'm getting my schedule ready for summer-  If you are in the Ohio area check them out!

Wanting- My blog design to finally be up!  I had it looking the way I wanted to and made a small change, forgot to back it up and it was lost forever!  I'm using The Cutest Blog on the Block and Jenn has been amazing, especially with me being sooo picky!  It will hopefully be up on the first so let me know what you think!  

Needing- Extra time!  I'm not sure where my 24 hours are going these days!  It seems to fly this time of year.  :-)

Advice-  Try something techy and new this week/month in class.  You will grab your students attention and help tame down the spring fever!

Extra advice: Check out Farley's blog!  You will LOVE it!

******  I'm *almost* to 110 followers!  Will you help me reach my goal? ******

A Bunny Blog Hop

A Tisket, A Tasket, Freebies for your Basket!
Several phenomenal teachers and bloggers are joining forces for an amazing bunny blog hop!  As you follow us along the bunny trail, you will visit some of your favorite blogs and discover a few new blogs too!  Each with a fabulous freebie just for you!

Thank you for hopping on over to my blog!

One of my FAVORITE times of the year is getting the caterpillars in the mail and watching them grow into butterflies.  Now, I even do this at home with my own kids.  In my opinion one of the most important parts is having the students record what is happening, so I created this Butterfly Observation Journal.

When you are preparing for your life cycle unit, be sure to check out these sites, videos and apps:


Complete Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly (4 min 33 sec) Hosted on YouTube

Butterfly HD- $1.99 

You can snag the full packet here.  It is on sale March 28, 29, and 30th!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!  If you are new to my blog and liked what you see, don't forget to follow me- Look in the upper right corner.  :-)  A Tisket, A Tasket, next up with a Freebie for your Basket is Nicole from Teaching's a Hoot.  Hop on over!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Teachings a Hoot

Just in case you didn't join us from the beginning, here is an ordered list of all the participating blogs.

Stephany from Primary Possibilities
Sally from Elementary Matters
Lory from Fun for First
Linda from Primary Inspiration
Nicole from Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade
Brian from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings
Liz from The Happy Teacher
Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers
Sarah from Learning is for Superstars
Teresa from Fun in K/1
Nikki from Teaching in Progress
Faith from Kindergarten Faith
Renee from Fantastic First Grade Froggies
Amy from Happy Teacher Heaven
Leah from Learn with Leah
Nicole from Teaching's a Hoot
Kristy from The Phonic's Phenomenon
Rich from Mr. Giso's Room to Read
Susanna from Whimsy Workshop
Amy from Motivate to Learn
Lola from Preschool Wonders
Kimberli from Mixing the Next Batch

The Best Handwriting Apps

I have a four year old daughter who is learning to write and we LOVE using the iPad for this!  Somehow she doesn't see it as tedious when it has sounds, music, games, and visuals attached.  It was really important for me to get a stylus to use with these apps.  I was very focused on getting her to hold a "pencil" correctly so writing with her finger seemed counter productive.  We have two that we love but I'll talk about those on another day.  :-D  These are our FAVORITE handwriting apps- and we have tried a ton of them!

For Beginners: Letter School- $2.99

Letter school is the best out there for beginners- it really makes them want to learn and increases there overall knowledge!  At least so far!  It has capital and lower case letters as well as numbers.  You can choose if you want Zaner-Bloser, D'Nealian, and HWT Style.  And what is more you can have this customized for three different students- so if you want one student working on numbers, one on uppercase, and one only doing lowercase you can do that.  
Every letter is displayed differently, in some of the letters it cuts grass, other lights up like Christmas lights, flowers bloom, candy goes around the letter, a rocket ship blasts off.  Very exciting stuff!  I found a video on YouTube demonstrating the app.

What I love about this app the most is that it breaks each letter down into three steps.  Scaffolding at its finest!

Intermediate: iTrace- $3.99

This is my most recent discovery.  I feel it is more for someone who has a grasp on what letters are and why they are important.  This app has the ability to add you child's picture and name and then inside of words, it allows you to practice their name, choosing any color that they would like!  How cool is that!

 What really sets this app apart from all of the others is the history.  You are able to see all of the past attempts for each letter and the date that it was written.  Awesome!  It will also tell you what letters are the favorites, tracks the number of letters written, time spent on the app, and what letters are tricky.  This is great if you are not watching over the student's shoulder- and want to be sure that they are in fact practicing.  :-)  This app does not mandate that the letters are 100% perfect but does still make sure that it is close.

If you have never heard about the Handwriting without Tears program, it is worth checking out!  This app offers capital letters and numbers.  With each letter you write it three times.  The first time you use a wash cloth, the second time a towel, and the third time a piece of chalk.  This app is tough and sometimes frustrating for my daughter who is at the very beginning stages of learning her letters. It lacks the music and flashy elements but it demands a higher level of accuracy.  In a Kindergarten or First Grade classroom this app would be hard to beat!  When you go to far off the desired path, it will show you what to do and will have you start over.  This app mandates that the letters are written well.

What I feel makes this app stand out is that you can pick and choose the letters that you would like to learn or you can follow the Handwriting Without Tears order.  This order starts with the "easy" letters first and builds to the increasingly difficult letters.  This method also claims to help students eliminate reversals.  

I hope this helps in your journey to learning to write letters well.  Do you know any other apps that are must have for helping to learn and master letters?  

**** I am not being paid for these reviews or recommendations but if you would like to, let me know!
 ; -)

iPad Apps In and Out of the Classroom

It's true- I'm  a little bit obsessed with finding and trying new apps.  I don't believe I have gone more than 2 days without downloading a new one.  So I am constantly deleting subpar apps to make room for new exciting apps.  So when I was asked to present "iPad Apps- In and Out of the Classroom"at the Tech Expo held at Sidney Local Schools I jumped at the chance!

I took note of all of my favorite apps- both those for classroom use and without.  My list grew to about 60 different apps- seriously!  And these are all ones that I actually use.  :-D  So I am so excited to be able to share this list with you!  Not all of the apps are free but many are- so I hope you learn about a few new ones!  

What are your must have apps?  Did I leave any off?  

Freebie Fridays

Turn your iPad into a Document Camera for Under $10

The iPad is becoming a more powerful tool everyday.  Recently, I found a YouTube video talking about how to build your own PVC iPad holder essentially turning your iPad into a document camera.

I sent these directions to our awesome industrial tech teacher and a mere $7.00 and 15 minutes later we had our very own stand.  I found however that I wasn't a big fan of having to take the iPad out of the case and sliding it into the pvc pipe.  So we created the model below.  In our version the iPad just sits on the pipe, it might not be quite as secure but it is much easier.

To get the full document camera experience, you will need to have the Apple 30-pin to VGA Adaptor and a projector.  Epson now offers several projectors that connect to your iPad through bluetooth that may be worth looking into if you are purchasing a new projector.

I use this with the app Stage, which is free on iTunes.  This app allows you to write and label your image much as a SMART board would do.  It is a very basic app but very powerful!

I hope you find this helpful!  Do you have any other innovative iPad solutions that you would like to share?  I would LOVE to hear them!  


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