Place Value Partners

I’m going to start off and apologize to whomever I got this picture from. I am constantly on Twitter and Blogs finding fun ideas, and I saved this picture and totally forgot where I got this from. If its yours, THANK YOU!

BvmNHtcIgAITTgZThis is such a quick and easy Math Center to make for your students! I’m sure we all have extra boxes laying around somewhere. Simply cut them into rectangles, tape two blank laminated place value charts facing opposite ways, tape a random top from something to catch the dice, and write these questions down as a reminder for the students of what to ask each other:


On one side:
1. What’s the smallest number we can make?
2. What’s in the _________ place?
3. What’s the value of the __________ ?

On the other side:
1. What’s in the ________ place?
2. What’s the value of the __________ ?
3. What’s the largest number we can make?

If you want to write other questions, go for it! Anything getting the students collaborating and working together will be great!

How Can I Help You This Year?

10574420_10152299955251860_8832908599883805638_nAll too often we are drowning in data, data, and more data to help figure out and form the best action plans we can to help our students. Now, while this is a absolutely necessary to help our students make growth over the year, all too often, what the student feels they need help with is often overlooked.  During these first weeks of school, pull out some post-it notes and have your students tell you how you can help them succeed. What is their weakest area? What are their goals for the year? Do they just need someone to be there for them? Yes, some answers may be way off in what your trying to accomplish academically with them, but you will also find some very transparent answers from students who will greatly benefit from you being in their corner.  In the long run you’re building those powerful relationships and your students are going to know that you are looking out for their best interest. Start building those relationships from Day 1, and get your students to start working for not only you but also themselves!

This is THE Year – Let’s Do This!

10590509_10153069656464692_6900172841460164328_nToday I had a blast with my faculty having them work together to complete The Marble Challenge! I borrowed the materials from my man, Ryan Stein, so I had to give them back. I’ve already had a couple requests from my teachers wanting to borrow the materials to use with their students, so I ran out to Home Depot tonight to cut my own PVC pipes.  While wandering up and down the aisles like I was grocery shopping, it hit me right in the face!  Bright orange stacks of buckets with the quote, “Let’s Do This.”

A couple weeks ago, our county changed a lot of their header images on the Henrico County Website.  I was pretty pumped when I saw them and had to tweet about it.

I knew right then and there at Home Depot this evening this is going to be THE year.  The year to make a change. The year to do something outside the box. The year to motivate. The year to engage. The year to collaborate. The year to innovate. The year to improve your craft. The year to make a difference. The year for more fun! The first day of school is right around the corner! Let’s Do This!

The Marble Challenge!

This morning the Fair Oaks Faculty completed The Marble Challenge Team Building activity! What an awesome way to kick off the year working together and knowing we’ll all be there for each other!

This can also be an awesome way to start off the new year with your students! It can be a perfect way to work on team building with your students on the first day of class. It will also be a great way for you to see how each student responds in a group wide activity and see who your natural leaders, followers, introverts, and extroverts in the classroom will be as well! Check out the PDF below, so you can use this in your class:

The Marble Challenge

Bad Math Photos!

Great critical thinking lesson idea!  Use photos from the Bad Maths Flickr Group Page. The The Bad Math Flickr Group defines itself as “a place to store all those images of crazy special offers and examples of things that just don’t add up. The aim is to be able to use these in math lessons.”  I’ll have to admit there are some pretty amazing ones there.  The clock below is my favorite!  **Note, many of the pictures in the Flickr Group use the sign for “pounds” instead of “dollars,” so you might have to have the conversation about these signs.**

Be on the look out to take some pictures of your own Bad Math out in the real world.  Better yet, challenge your students to take their own pictures and bring them in to class. Using these images would be a great way to get conversations and critical thinking skills going in the classroom. It could be a great way to start off every class to get those minds working! Why are these pictures showing bad math? Would this be a deal that you would want to take? Why or why not? What a great way to bring math to life, and show your students real life examples of why math is important.  Here are a couple pictures I ran across that I thought were intriguing:

penny.patterson on Flickr

curlywick_cavies on Flickr

PowToon Free Accounts!

powtoonPowToon Education
is giving away free accounts!  Say What?!  That’s right they are giving away FREE accounts!  To celebrate the 5 million PowToons that have been created, PowToon is giving away 5 MILLION dollars worth of classroom accounts for teachers!  Actually is is 50,000 accounts at $96/year, so it is actually $4.8 million, BUT WHO CARES?!  It is a FREE account!  How do I go about getting this free account?  Simply Click this “ToonUp” Link, and click the “Get Yours FREE now” button.  Don’t forget to use the Promo Code: ToonUp5M! It is case sensitive, so make sure you enter it exactly that way…

What is PowToon? PowToon defines themselves as a tool designed to allow education professionals (and students) to create content that is visually engaging, captivating and fun to make.

Check out these tutorials to help you learn how to create awesome PowToons!

Back to School Selfie Projects!

If you aren’t following Julie Smith’s ITRT Blog, you are missing out! I’m sad I only got to work with her for one year before getting my new Resource Teacher position at Fair Oaks Elementary because she really challenged and stretched me as an ITRT. She has amazing ideas for lessons that are truly engaging and fun for students. Her latest post, Back to School Selfie Projects, is super!

In her post she talks about the App that many teachers dread using in the classroom – THE CAMERA! Instead of shying away from it and prohibiting students from using it, leverage the craziness and embrace the process! You’re students will love you for it. Get over to Julie’s Blog Post now and check it out! She even has multiple type of Rubrics that you download like the one below! A great project idea AND grading rubrics to go along with it?! AWESOME!

Screen-Shot-2014-08-15-at-3.48.43-PMIf iPads aren’t your thing, or you don’t have them in your classroom, you can still make a Back to School Selfie Project!  Have your students make an Instagram Selfie Project!  Have your students go to the online webcam, Pixect to take their picture.  After taking and saving the picture, the students can use one of two templates. I’ve created a Promethean ActivInspire Template and a PhotoShop Template. Pick your poison, drag in the saved selfie picture, edit the text-boxes, and your good to go! If you want more in-depth directions and examples on how to create with ActivInspire, here are all my other Instagram Blog Posts on making Historical People and Animal Selfies! Here’s a quick example I threw together.  Have fun making those Selfies!


What’s my Google Password Again?

password card1One Password to Rule them All!

Yes! It’s finally here! Our fabulous technology department has activated Google Password Sync, so it will work with password manager. Gone are the days of trying to remember your computer password, your email password, AND your Google Password–all with varying character requirements! No longer will teachers and admin have to ask their ITRT to reset their Google Password. You can take care of it all on your own! Once you change your password, it will automatically change it for Google, Outlook, Logging into your Computer, School Space, and more! Yay for Password Synchronization! There are two ways that you can change your password:

1. When logged into your computer, Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, and select “Change a password…”
2. Log into Password Manager and follow the instructions to log in with your credentials

**One thing to Note** Your computer will need to sync with the HCPS WiFi network for permanent changes to take effect…

Rumor Has it – You’re Getting “A-Dell” Conference Info

The Conference Schedule and Session Descriptions have all been finalized for Henrico’s Elementary Tech Conference on Tuesday, August 12th!  Check out the links below, print off the PDFs, and start planning your day!

There are so many amazing sessions available to choose from!  Just some of the sessions include: Crazy for QR Codes, Bridging the Gap via Windows Moviemaker, Blogging 101, Dell? Mac? Who Cares…We have Googledocs!, Create a Virtual World with Aurasma Studio, Edmodo 101, Engage Your Students with TEI, and so much more!

This day is sure to be an amazing day of learning and collaborating! I can’t wait to see you all there preparing to make the 2014-15 school the best year yet!

Conference Schedule
Session Descriptions

Send it Anywhere!

sendanywhereI just ran across a great website and app thanks to my man Ryan Stein! The website is called Send Anywhere. This is an extremely helpful website that allows you to transfer any size file from your computer, iOS, or Android to any other computer, iOS, or Android device. Users don’t have to deal with files being too large for email or needing wires to hook up your device to your computer. So basically, send it anywhere!

All users need to do is simply go to and click the “+ Add Files” button.  Once you find and open the file you want to send click the “↑ Send Files” button.
sendWhat happens next is amazing.  You will get a box that pops up with a QR Code and 6-digit numerical code.  This two codes will stay active for 10 minutes for any receiver to use to download the file. There is even a little countdown timer that lets you know how much time is left. The receiver for the file can either go to the website and enter the 6-digit code to automatically start downloading the file, or the receiver can use any QR Code reader to scan the QR Code and automatically download the file.  **Note** The user will need to have downloaded the Send Anywhere App onto their iOS or Android device to download the file using this method.
receiveUsing Send Anywhere can be a quick and easy way to get any files and pictures your students make on your class iPads to a computer. Simply go to the website or use the App on the iPad, upload the file you want, and then download the file to your computer. Happy sending and receiving files!