Friday, July 12, 2013

Indy Blogger Meet Up and Favorite Pins Friday!

Happy happy Friday!  Unfortunately, this is my last summer Friday, but I get to see lots of friends this weekend, so I can't complain!  First up, though, is our awesome Indy Blogger meet up yesterday!  My husband thought it was craaaazy that I was meeting up with random strangers at a restaurant for lunch.  He was glad to know that I was safe and sound afterward!

Here is our whole group!  We had 15 bloggers all the way from veteran to novice, but all were fabulous!  It as so fun to meet all of these virtual friends, laugh about how our spouses think we are crazy sometimes, and share tips and tricks.

I have to give a little shout out to Hilary Lewis from Rockin' Teacher Materials.  First of all, her materials are rockin', but SHE is rockin' too!  She has been pretty extremely successful with her blog and TPT, and was very willing to share about everything.  I was lucky to sit close enough that I could hear everything!  I confessed that when I first started on TPT I wanted to be her (she fights for the #1 spot in Indiana!)!

We also did a product or school supply exchange game, and it was so fun!  Each of us brought something and then we could steal from others.

I ended up with a great Parts of Speech Game from Ciera at Adventures of Room 129!  The best part is that it was already laminated, cut out, and ready to go!!  Ciera also made these adorable little frames for everyone!  They were at each of the place settings on the table!

Do you want to hear from the other Indy Bloggers that were there?  Here is a linky with all of their posts about our great time together.  Some took more (and better) pictures than I did, so join in on our fun!

 Alrighty, now onto some of my favorite pins from this week!  I'm linking up with Cara Carroll with a few of my personal and professional pins!

1. A bookshelf of family photos from your students!  I love this idea, especially for my ENL kiddos.  Family is such a huge component for a lot of the cultures I work with, and what better way to showcase that then with a display.  I don't quite have room for a whole bookshelf, but I'm going to find a way to make this work!

2. I love my 2 pups, and the summer has been awesome to get some more time with them!  I was really excited, and then extremely let down by this pin, and I'll tell you why.  First of all, the picture is adorable, and I can just see my dogs jumping up and down with excitement for these treats.  Then, I went to click on the link, and it just linked to a picture recipe for the treats!  I'm posting it here in case anyone knows of or has seen the recipe!


3. I love fall!  Don't get me wrong...I'm bummed that my summer has only 3 short days left, but I love fall clothes!  Boots.  Jeans.  Long sleeves.  Scarves.  You name it!  I love fall clothes.  This outfit just got me excited because it looks so comfy, yet stylish.  If you know me at all, you also know that I love me a puffy this outfit just caught my eye!

4.  I recently had an old neighbor from the neighborhood I grew up in come visit me at my "new" house.  They were so excited to see where I live.  However, the hubs and I have lived here for 5 years now, and we've kind of fallen behind in what we were going to do to the house when we bought it.  This picture of this plain laundry room updated to a more modern look gave me some inspiration to get my but in gear and do something.  Now...I have the inspiration...I just need to buy the supplies and do it!  Did I mention I go back to school on Monday? Ha!

5. This is a YouTube video with a rap about story elements!  It's from a guy who heads up "Flocabulary".  I might be a little late on this train, but the videos are great and have all kinds of different topics.  This one is a little less than 4 minutes, and I love the beat and the repetition.  The kids hear the 5 story elements so many times.  Check out Flocabulary on YouTube!  You won't be disappointed. 

6.  Finally, I loved these little ribbon topiary trees.  I'm hosting a bridal shower for my brother-in-law, and I thought I'd change these ribbons to burlap and yellow.  They're having their wedding in a barn, so I thought it would be so cute.  Maybe Mason Jars for the base?  The Etsy shop link didn't work through Pinterest, but it's still a good visual.

Alrighty, well I gotta run!  We've got friends coming in town and I need to do some MAJOR cleaning! I love my dogs, but boy do they add to the time commitment of cleaning!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tune Into Technology: iPad Apps (Notability and Mover+)

Happy Thursday!!  I dropped the ball last week with the 4th of July and didn't get my Technology post in with the Tune into Technology Linky, so I'm excited to be getting this one in...and I love iPads!  We are certainly not 1:1 yet, but each grade level has a set that they can share between them and one of our grade levels wrote a grant to get iPad minis.  This will be a great linky to start building ideas to share with them!  I love Amanda and Aylin, from Learning to the Core, and they have a super cute new blog design!

The first app I'm going to share with you is Notability.  I LOVE NOTABILITY!!
As the icon shows, Notability lets you write (in different colors and thicknesses), type, and take notes as well as record voices.

Here is a display they use on iTunes.  You can upload a PDF and either you, or your students can then edit and type on top of the PDF.  It will connect to your Google Drive and other Apps on your iPad that might have editing capabilities. 

My school just went to Everyday Mathematics and with the new Standards for Mathematical Practice we are wanting to make sure our students can reason, be precise in their calculations, and use content terminology when discussing their problems.  Notability lets them write out the problem and talk about it as they are solving the problem. I created this example of Partial Products to show my students and color-coded each step.  I recorded my voice explaining what I was doing as I was solving the problem. My students though tit was soooo cool, and they couldn't wait to do their own.  

With my ENL kiddos, it's great because it gives them practice explaining what they are doing in a private manner.  They can record it individually without the pressure of messing up in front of their peers.  
Here is an example of a Write about Reading Daily 5 Center, where they were focusing on fairy tales.  I added it to my Google Drive, and then it gave me options on where to open it.  On my iPad, I get 3 options.  I wanted my students to mark it up, so I told them to open it in Notability.  The right picture shows how they can use Notability to mark up the page with text, color, writing, etc.  The best part is that it won't delete the PDF, so students can mess that part up! :)

Organization with Notability
I'm planning on using Notability with my students even more this year, and I can easily organize everything I do, and they do, by creating subjects and categories.  Since I work with all grade levels, I've created K-6 folders to put my students' work in.

...And to get their work onto my iPad?  I use Mover+!

This is the icon for Mover+ on iTunes. 

Mover + is an awesome (and free!!) App that allows you to "move" documents, PDFs, photos, etc. from one iPad to another.  When two or more iPads are close to each other and have the App opened, it senses the other one and lets you "slide" the document off of your screen to a specific iPad.  You can see in the above picture, that my iPad is "sending" the document to my husband's iPad.  It is so easy, and students can see when other iPads are on Mover+.  

I'm thinking story writing, starting and finishing math problems, etc. for next year!

Gotta run, but I'm hoping to be back tomorrow with a great post about our INDY BLOGGER LUNCH!  It was sooooo great to see so many faces, even if my husband was a little weirded out that I was meeting complete strangers! :)

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

11 Tips for resume writing, applications, and interviewing!

My principal and I have been interviewing like mad this summer for several different positions in our building, thus I've looked through hundreds of resumes and online applications.  I'm going to list a few of my recommendations from the other side of the desk for resume writing, applying, and interviewing.

1. Your resume does not have to be kept one page, especially if you have teaching experience.  We want to see your highlights, and if you're having to reduce it to size 6 font or take something out that you really want someone to know, then make it 2 pages...but make it a full 2 two pages.  Add references at the bottom if you need to.

2. Give more than just your job title and location.  We want to know specifics about you and how you might help our staff.  If you taught 1st grade and implemented a new math series, were a part of CCSS curriculum mapping, etc. then make sure you include that!  We want to know the specifics of what you will bring to the table.

3. When listing references, try to get their personal number.  If I'm wanting to hire you and need to call 3 people, but all of them have school numbers listed it might be hard to reach that person.  We are usually hiring during the summer when some admins. might be enjoying their breaks, so they aren't always quick to return phone calls.  Try to use their personal numbers if at all possible.

4. Spellcheck and have someone in the Educ. field look it over.  I know this seems silly, but you would not believe how many errors we find in resumes or online applications.  I won't even consider them if they don't capitalize I in their application questions.  If they can't do it when they are trying to impress someone, then they certainly won't do it everyday.  I say to have someone in the education field look it over because we often have our own language.  If you are right out of college, then hopefully you can have your college advisor and/or cooperating teacher review it for you.  If you have experience, let some of your colleagues look it over and see if there is something you have done that you didn't include or forgot about.

5. EMAIL the principal when you see a posting rather than call.  When I was looking for a position, I wasn't quite sure the right etiquette and I certainly didn't want to take up all of the principal's time, but we sometimes get hundreds of applications for one position.  There is NO way we can look at all of them, but if you send us an email, then we will definitely see your name.  We will never return a phone call, but we might respond to an email.
           A few hints on the email:
                   - attach your cover letter and resume
                   - tell us what position you are seeking and why
                  -  give us a few sentences about yourself and your experiences that might grab our attention
                   - spell check it before hitting send!

6. Make a YouTube video!  This has been a new one for me this year, but I've had three or four candidates send me a YouTube video about them.  It's usually only 1-2 minutes, but you get to see the person, hear them talk, and listen to their experiences.  Two of them had a question/answer format where they would show a question on their video and then answer it on camera.  Another had a collage of pictures from their classroom and they told about the pictures and how she taught in her classroom.  Talk about facetime!

7. Applying from far away or out of state? Skype and Facetime work great! Okay, I didn't really mean to rhyme there, but we have hired two people this year via Skype and Facetime.  One of them lived in Arkansas and was moving to IN after getting married this summer, and another had a family vacation planned.  They are easy to use and are pretty reliable!

8. Get nervous during an interview?  Bring a water bottle.  I can't take credit for this tip, but someone else shared that if you get really nervous, it's okay to bring your own water and drink it during an interview.  If there is a tricky question, you can easily take a swig to buy you some time too. :)

9. Take your time when responding to questions.  There are a couple of go-to questions that my principal and I like to ask that are a little harder for people to answer.  We want them to really think.  We know a mature candidate, when they think about it and don't immediately start answering a questions.  It is okay to think for a bit before answering a question...sometimes it results in the best answers!

10. Be honest and be yourself! This might be the biggest one of all.  You need to present your true self and be confident in the person you are.  Out of all of the applicants, we saw something in you or your resume that made us curious, you've already hooked us!  Now, you just have to tell us about yourself.  If you tell us things that aren't true or that you don't really do, and we end up hiring you, then we're going to expect those things from you.  Just be true to yourself.

11. Send a thank you.  Some people think this is a lost art, but I really appreciate it and it shows that you really care.  It is definitely okay to send an email thank you, and it can be more timely.  When you know someone is trying to make a quick decision, email is really the only route to go.  Also, in the summertime, the people who usually put mail in mailboxes aren't in the office, so we might not even see your thank you until a month or two after you interviewed.

I know this post was a bit wordy, but I certainly didn't have pictures of any of these and can't really share any pieces from resumes for confidentiality purposes.  SORRY!!

If you have other tips or questions, feel free comment or send me an email!

Also, I am totally excited for our IN blogger lunch on Thursday!  Woohoo!!

Alrighty, gotta run!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pinteresting Reading Ideas!

Good morning!  I have really enjoyed Just Reed's Ten Pin Linky because I've been able to Pin so many other great ideas!  This week's focus is on reading, and who can't use more resources for reading!?!?  Let's get started on my 10!

1. I really like this anchor chart for writing about reading.  It outlines expectations and ideas in an easy and simple way.  I'm thinking that modeling what this might actually look like and then posting those models around the chart would be helpful too.

2.  We use The Continuum by Fountas & Pinnell a lot in our reading instruction and to guide our mini lessons and questioning.  This chart outlines what within, beyond, and about the text questions might look like when reading any book.  I love how transferable these are to most books!

3. And...we all know that even in K and 1, we're encouraging our students to find the answers in the text.  As they get into 2nd grade and beyond our expectations head into writing about the evidence.  I love this quick and easy reference for sentence starters to help.  I'm thinking this will be especially helpful in my ENL world!

4.  This is a quick and easy game reviewing Nonfiction Conventions.  There is a primary version and an intermediate version based on your grade level.   This is a great game for review and making learning fun!

5. I just love this bulletin board where it shows active readers.  I'm imagining so many different things that can be posted in front of these sweet recommendations, book summaries, character analysis, etc.!

6.  This pin shows a huge reading bulletin board that appears to be school-wide.  As I came across this pic, I thought it would be really fun to send students home with a sheet to fill out over the summer about a book they read.  They can then bring these back at the ice cream social or first week of school.  We would post a large board with all of our summer reading and learning!  What a great way to celebrate students' continued work.

7. I love the idea of a picture frame for several reasons.  It's easy to store flat, the contents can be changed easily, and it looks clean and organized.  I especially liked this one because part of it can be changed daily for the "must do" activity, and the other activities are a bit more permanent.  Easy to use!

8. Well,  I'm putting this link up here, because it's a professional reading idea I think all should pursue.  I posted here about Teach Like a Pirate last week, but what I thought was so cool was that the author, Dave Burgess, commented on my blog!!  Now that is why he is so dynamic!  He connects with everyone, whether in his classroom or via the web!  How cool!

9.  I liked this interactive vocabulary activity.  It reminds me a lot of the game Headbands, but there is a sheet that goes with the activity to assist students figure out their word.  Not only does it help the student with the word, but it makes the other students think about the true meaning in order to answer the questions.  

10. I love how organized this library is (I think it's before school has started), but also the volume of books and the cute lanterns hanging down.  I think a big, organized library is crucial in a classroom.  I like how inviting the area is for students and how easy it will be for her students to find books!

I hope you've enjoyed my 10 this week for reading!  I gotta run to the grocery and get ready for the 4th!    Have an awesome holiday tomorrow!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Made-It and Giveaway Winner!

This was certainly a busy week, but a fun one! I also got to cross a lot of things off my list, so I'm joining 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It (x3)!  


The first thing I'm going to share I'm in love with, but I forgot to take a true "before" photo!  Ultimate fail!  Anyway, our patio furniture was a hand-me-down from my in-laws when we moved into our house 5 years ago.  At that time, I thought, man they need some new seat cushions but it was not really on our priority list upon first buying a house.  Soooo...five years later I bought 5 cans of spray paint to paint the furniture black and got new seat cushions!

In the middle picture you can see the table frame in its original color which was a light gray color.  Our porch is white, so it just kind of blended in.  Now the table and chairs pop a bit against the white.  It was a very easy facelift...although, I didn't think I'd need 5 cans of spray paint (and my finger got really sore from spraying).  :) 

I don't know if any of you have been in the market for outdoor cushions, but they are expensive!  The original cushions were green and white floral, and were waaaaay faded (sorry no pictures!).  5+ years at my in-laws and 5 years at our house - they were ready for retirement!  I had pinned some new cushions I really liked but they were $40/piece!  Then...I found Kohl's!  Oh, Kohl's, how I love thee!  These cushions and pillows were originally $35 and I got them for $9.80!  Woohoo!  I have a 2 black lanterns from IKEA that are at my parents that I'm trying to decide whether I'll hang them or put them on the table, but it was quick and easy!

The second thing I worked on this week was a set of student-friendly posters for the Standards for Mathematical Practice that go along with the math CCSS.  My staff studied these during some PD this year, and we realized that the document is really wordy and quite frankly, hard to understand.  If our students were to know these, WE needed to know them!  We spent some time breaking them, finding web resources, reading texts, etc. and tried to make meaning of them.  

Then, our next step was for our students to know them and understand them.  But, how!?  So, I decided to make a primary and intermediate version of these posters for our teachers.  However, as you will see, there are still some mathematical words included because I think it's important that, although some words are challenging to understand, our students need exposure and use in order to become fluent with them.  I have included words such as precise, equations, expressions, etc. so that we can begin to use this language with our students.  
Click on the image for the TpT link.  They are only $2.00 for now and you get the primary and intermediate versions and two designs for each!   

 I also have two different sets for the design factor.  One is the pastel with lined background and one set is vibrant colors with the bubble border.  They should work in most classrooms!

The final thing I've been working on is invitations for my brother-in-laws wedding shower.  What started as an idea for a small couples get together, ended up being quite a large invite list!  I volunteered to do invitations since they'd be done ahead of time and before I go back to school (I think I've mentioned I only have 2 weeks of summer left!).  

I made 27 invitations and used yellow rick rack ribbon and a burlap flower.  Their colors are yellow and coral, and the wedding is going to be a in a barn.  I was trying to make them a bit informal, but still fun.  My future sis-in-law wanted people to bring recipes, so I included a blank recipe card for them to bring.  

One of my favorite parts, though, was using my personalized stamp on the envelope!  I just love that thing.  Glad they're in the mail and the mess is gone (well, kinda!)!

Have you made anything lately?  Hop on the Linky train and share what you've been making! could I forget my Giveaway Winner?!?!?!?

Thank you to everyone who joined me on Bloglovin' over the past week!  Change is hard, but sometimes good.  If you haven't followed me on Bloglovin' yet, please click this link, and join in on the fun!

The winner of 5 of my TPT products is....Lindsay R.!!!  

Congratulations!  Start looking and shopping!!

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Alrighty, gotta run!  Have a wonderful Monday!!