Lollipop Leadership

We often find ourselves in situations where leadership is needed and we ignore them because they seem too challenging or trivial. Leadership shouldn’t be just a top down notion. As leaders, we preach systematic problem solving; analyzing and breaking a problem into small pieces until it is solved. Why is it that our view of leadership does not follow that same thought process Small acts of leadership, lollipop leadership, occur more often and have just as profound, if not, more profound, effects as the idea of leadership we are used to. Making an impact in a students’ or coworkers’ life can be as small as handing them a lollipop, giving them a hug, or telling them they matter. Be that change to fundamentally make a difference and make someone’s life better!


icon175x175I just ran across an amazing app that could be extremely helpful in the classroom! PhotoMath is an app that will solve math problems simply by using your camera on your phone. Being obsessed with Augmented Reality, and this app having an AR feel, I was quickly hooked! Now, I can see teachers saying, “Why would I want an app that gives my students the answers?” My favorite feature:  The How-To Steps. After answering the question, the app allows you to flip through the steps on how to solve the problem. This would be an awesome way to help students walk through order of operation problems. Now, this app just became available a couple weeks ago, so there still are some higher level problems that the app cannot handle, but the company is working to update the app!

Below is an example I did off my computer screen.  The first picture is a problem I scanned off my computer, and you will notice the red box with the “12” as the answer.  I then clicked through each screen on the app to go through the steps of how to solve the problem.  Check it out!


Math Busters TV preview!


As you might have seen from our guest blogger, Jim Covais, on Friday, October 31st – HALLOWEEN – Our Kindergarten Team partnered up with Trevvett Elementary school and had 6 ITRTs come to both of our schools to become Math Busters! Our six ITRTs led whole group lessons and then broke out into six math stations and led our students in some amazing and engaging activities! In doing these centers and lessons, it also gave our teachers six brand new, hands-on applications they can add to their tool box to use in the classroom. HCPS-TV also came out to film the entire event, so here’s a quick preview to our kindergartners’ television debut coming soon

Kindergarten Math Busters!

Guest Blog Post from Jim Covais:

Last Friday I had the pleasure of participating in a ITRT meetup. ITRT meetups are a lot like a food truck meetup. The only difference is less food and more technology. (We don’t have a catchy name for our group, so if you have one please tell us!) We traveled to two wonderful schools, Fair Oaks Elementary and Trevvett Elementary where we worked with Kindergarten. We had a blast highlighting different technologies Kindergarten teachers can use everyday in their classroom.

We started the day off reviewing kindergarten concepts using the learner response system called Kahoot. Kahoot allows students to respond to multiple choice questions using any web enabled device. The students had a blast using Kahoot to review.

We broke the grade level into small groups where each group got to use a new technology tool. Check out what each ITRT did in their small group. If you have any questions contact any of us and we’ll get you all set up.

Matt Caratachea
Matt used Padlet and had a small group of kindergartners make different combinations of 5. Students showed many examples such as 3+2 and 4+1. The coolest part is when a child posts to a Padlet wall, all the other students can see the post as well. Padlet works on both iPads and laptop computers.

Click Here for Examples!


Julie Smith
Julie used Google Presentation in her small group. The kindergartners worked collaboratively to put the pumpkin life cycle in the correct order. Just as with Padlet, any change a student made to the presentation was visible to all students on their computers. It was so awesome to see these students working together.

Click Here for Examples!



Jim Covais
Jim used the iPad app Chatter Pix Kids. The students went on a shape hunt and took a picture of it using the app. They then used the app to make the shape talk. Students had their talking shape say the name of the shape and the number of sides.

Click Here for Examples!



Karen Hues and Sarah Green
Karen and Sarah cooked up a great graphing activity. Students tallied up different pictures of food that they pulled out of the mixing bowl. Most teachers would have stopped there and just asked which one has the most or which one as the least. Karen and Sarah took it to the next level and had the students take their results to the iPad app Easychart. The students then constructed a bar graph. This program is extremely user friendly for a kindergartner.

Click Here for Examples!


Jessica Robinson
Jessica had the students create different types of patterns using Halloween themed props. She then use the iPad app called Educreations to take the activity to the next level. The students were able to take a picture of their pattern and then explain what type of pattern it is and how they came up with the pattern. Such a useful tool to use in the classroom.

Click Here for Examples!


Tyler Hart and Ryan Stein
Tyler and Ryan played the game of Garbage using activinspire. Garbage is a game that most students play in their classroom in file folder game form. Students have to place numbers in order on a number line. If they pull a number that is already out, they place it in the garbage. Students used this familiar game to improve their number sense and to become more familiar with using activinspire. Many teachers don’t know that you can use flipcharts on a laptop as well as a Promethean board.

Click Here for Examples!

21 Things 21st Century Teachers Should Do

If you aren’t following Ben Rimes on Twitter or his blog page you are really missing out. Ben is a K-12 Educational Technology Coordinator in Mattawan Consolidated School District, Michigan. I discovered this brilliant educator through Twitter and playing around with ds106, a Digital Storytelling open online course through Mary Washington University created by Jim Groom. If you haven’t checked it out, that’s another place I suggest you lose yourself. There are a lot of great ideas that seem geared toward higher education, but I was able to find some fun ideas like the 4-Icon Challenge that I did with my 3rd graders years ago.

Now that I am finished with my plugs and tangents here’s an awesome infographic that Ben Rimes created. Some of these aren’t even overly tech related and would be extremely fun things to do in your class! Go for it!

Egg Drop Experiment

Today I was able to hang out with our 5th grade classes today and help re-teach and review the Scientific Process. This by far is one of my favorite experiments to do with students. Mainly, because my version allows me to get on the roof of the school and drop things over the side! Ha! We had a blast recording our hypothesis, observations, and conclusions. I can’t wait to get back into the classes again and get our hands dirty again! If you’d like to use the sheet we used for recording our information feel free to download it below!

Scientific Investigation Experiment

Teamwork and Reflection Abound!

IMG_2887This week Mrs. Menon’s 3rd grade and Mrs. Kraegel’s 4th grade classes took on the Marble Challenge! It was awesome watching these students have to figure out how to work as a whole class to complete the challenge. The students found out real fast how hard the task would be if they rushed along by themselves and didn’t help the others.  There was obviously a lot of cross shouting communication across the room on who should be doing what during the process.

IMG_2895Participating in the challenge was extremely fun and rewarding for the students, but the most important part was our class meeting and debrief afterwards.  We talked about what made things difficult, why what they were doing at times didn’t work, and how we could make the challenge easier if we were to complete it again.  It was the perfect segue into how the same difficulties in the challenge mirror the difficulties that can arise in the classroom. It was (and always will be) exciting seeing the light bulbs of the students’ minds light up with understanding.  I can’t wait to see the continued team building occurring throughout the school over the next few weeks and making this year one the students will never forget!

No Photo Booth? No worries!

1005976_757531400940519_323775625_nDay 2 in the books, and boy has it been crazy–CRAZY FUN! Yes, the first days of school are always the most crazy and hectic, but they will always be right at the top of my favorite days of teaching. Everything is new, and building those brand new relationships with students is such a critical and impactful time. All of those “About Me” projects in classrooms pop up, and many teachers use the Photobooth App to have the students take pictures of themselves for their project.  With the switch of our new platform to Dell, our teachers have lost Photobooth. Oh no! What do we do?

In steps Pixect! Pixect, is an online, easy to use Webcam that allows you to take pictures and easily save to your computer. I mentioned using this website in my Back to School Selfie Project post, but I figured it needed it’s own glory since taking student pictures is such a big thing students and teachers love to do for projects. Some of the Pixect’s features include:

  • Online photo booth for taking photos with webcam
  • Add amazing cool webcam effects
  • Photo editing is easy and fun
  • Adjust pictures brightness, contrast, hue and saturation
  • Edit photos online with cool effects
  • Multi-Frame capture mode

Here are some quick steps to get started:

  1. Click the “Get Started Now!” button.
  2. Click the Green “Allow” button to allow Pixect to use your webcam.
  3. Click the Grey “Allow” button at the top of the web browser on the next screen
  4. Boom! Your smiling shining face should show up!
  5. Click the big camera button to take a picture.
  6. It will automatically give you options for sharing. Students can click the Save button, and then save it to their computer for later use.


saveAs stated earlier, there are many different options and extras that Pixect can accomplish. Try it out, find your favorite feature, and let your students create!

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!