Thursday, July 31, 2014

iPad Mini Giveaway!

'i' am so excited!!!
'i' have joined wallets with 19 other bloggers & this is no 'mini' giveaway!
That is could win an iPad Mini!!!!

Grab a 'pad' to write down all the 'techy' ideas you will find along the hop and don't forget to enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post!
You will also find a linky that has all the bloggers that have contributed to the prize.  Click each thumbnail to score some great ideas on how to incorporate technology into your classroom or homeschool environments! 

Apple has a whole section devoted to using iPads in the classroom on their website.  Be sure to check it out if this is something you will be doing!

I am going to be honest right from the start...I do not own an iPad and I have never used one in my classroom... I know... GASP!!!  My husband and 5 year old son both have an iPad Mini... but getting them to let me use it is...well...impossible!

I do have an iPhone and have used some apps on there with my sons.  I have also used the QR reader to try out some neat freebies I have found on TPT for those lucky classrooms that have access to iPads!

QR readers seem to be one of the up and coming ways to integrate technology into your classroom.
I have read several blog posts about it and am so intrigued by the ones I have come across!
And, through my research, I have found there are so many different ways of using them!

Not familiar with QR codes?  
She explains what QR codes are, how to get started, using them in your classroom, and how to make your own codes!  

I used her suggestion of going to to make this QR code!  If you have a QR reader go ahead and scan it to read my message!
It took all of 1 minute from start to finish!  Think of the possibilities of how you could use this in your classroom!  It gives 'hidden messages' a whole new meaning!!

Use it for 'self-correcting' too... each code could have the answer.  Students complete the task and then scan to check their work!  What a motivating way to get kiddos to finish the task you have provided!

Another free 'informational' resource about using, and practicing with, QR Codes can be found in Suzy Palmer's store! 
In addition, you can also find a bunch of resources she has pinned on her Classroom Tech board!

As I was preparing this post I received a Blog Lovin' post notification from Teaching With Nancy's blog that she posted about using Apps in the Classroom!  I headed right there to see if there was anything I could share!  She has a great video tutorial on using 'Guided Access' so that students stay in the app you want them working on and don't wander to different areas!
If you go to her home page she has a tab just for QR codes and a link to free QR resources, using QR codes in the classroomQR Ideas from YouTube and a QR Pinterest board!
Definately go click around if using QR Codes is something you are planning on doing this year!

As for apps I know there are a ton out there that teachers use all the time.  Here is a link to find a list of free downloads that list apps to use in your classroom.  I have not tested any of them out, so I cannot say if they are great/not, but definitely worth taking a look at!

My boys like these that I have on my phone:
as well as some other puzzle and truck ones we found for free!

Last year I made up this A to Z 'iPad' inspired activity for my kids to do....feeling guilty I didn't have 'the real thing' for them to use!  They really loved it!  It made a perfect center activity for reviewing letter ID and letter sounds!

Here is some of what they kids could do with the components of the pack:

Think it is something your kids would like to do?  I reduced the price to $3 for the days of this hop!

But that's not all...
I am so enamored by QR codes and readers that I wanted to 'play' with it a bit!
I also wanted to make sure that everyone left this hop feeling like a 'winner'...

You will find 12 'Back to School'/'School Supplies' themed QR code cards and 3 different types of recording sheets!  
Use it for students to identify the letter the picture starts with and/or to spell the word to label the picture!  Great for differentiation and different aged classrooms!

Don't have a device to scan the codes?  Don't worry- I don't either!!!
You can still use the pack!  You can provide a handwritten 'check off list' for students to 'scan with their eyes' instead or simply just have them write the letters/words and you can check it yourself!

If you loved what you read, and think following my blog would benefit you and your students, don't forget to:
You will receive an email alerting you to new posts.  Many times I put freebies on my blog that I do not post in my stores!

So are you ready to enter the giveaway to win your very own iPad Mini?!!
Entry begins on August 1st and ends on August 9th!
This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroom and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information.

Be sure to visit the blogs and Facebook pages of all the other contributors to this awesome giveaway:

Wishing you the best of luck with the giveaway!
Hope your new year is full of hands on fun for all your little ones!
Until next post,
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Back To School Product Swap Blog Hop!

Although I still have a month of summer left, I know there are teachers that are on the brink of heading back to school.
Cara Taylor of Creative Playground has organized:
so that we can review each other's products to help you make decisions as to what you may be able to use in your classroom this upcoming school year!

I am lucky enough to be reviewing 2 great products!  

The first product comes from Life Over C's!
Kim Staten, the author of the blog, sent me her:

This is a 100 page resource that is perfect for PreK & Kindergarten classrooms, as well as those that homeschool.

Here is what is included in the pack:

This pack is perfect for hands-on work and play.  It does require a lot of colored printing, but once you print it and laminate it you are set to use it over and over, so it is definitely worth the time and investment!

So I grabbed my boys and we got to work!

First, whip up a batch of some fun sparkly ocean blue playdoh for sensory fun!
There are tons of recipes online (see link above)- some are 'cook' and others 'non cook'.
You can even add extracts and/or KoolAid to your dough mix for added sensory experiences!

The pieces are meant to go into the 'ocean' (playdoh) for guided or unguided play:

She also included these great QR code cards that read to the children to tell them what to do!!!!

Simply scan the QR code with a device that has a QR Reader (they are free to download)

and it reads the sentence/task to them!!!

then they go ahead and do what it asked them to do in the playdoh using the animal printables!
 The boys wanted to do this part over and over and over!!!!
Now think as a teacher of littles who aren't quite ready to read yet how awesome this is!!!
This now makes an independent sensory learning station/center for your classroom!

There were tons of other 'hands on' center activities to do:
Number puzzles- from 1-5 and also 1-10

Sorting/Matching/Counting activity cards

Counting and 'lacing' activity- perfect for fine motor development too!!
If you don't have pipe cleaners, straws work just as well- just glue the number card to the bottom of the straw and have them slide the pictures down the straw!

The boys really enjoyed playing Tic-Tac-Toe!

They chose their sea animal of choice and started placing them down

And the winner is...turtle!

I chose to stick the gameboard into a plastic binder sleeve so that I can place it in my center games binder.

And the playing pieces are stuck in the back.  Just stick the whole thing in the binder and then pull it out when it's time to play!

Kim also includes some 'task cards' so to speak that work well when binded together on a binder ring:

And then there are black and white printables for follow-up and extra practice/extension and review!
 I have my guys work on the floor- laying on their bellies.  It helps direct the pencil to be held in the right position- a little trick I learned from an OT! 

Another way to use the printables is to place them in the plastic binder sheets and use either dry erase markers

or crayons

They wipe off in a snap and are ready for the next kid/group!
Saves paper, time in the copy room, etc!
I also keep a binder for center activities like this so that they are quick to pull out and use!
Perfect also for unexpected days when a sub is in your room- they can pull out the activity and it is ready to go!

Next up that we played with were 'clipping cards'
You can cut/laminate and use with clothespins as you see above (you can even mark the back with a dot- they flip them over and if the clothespin is on the dot they got it right!)

But I chose to use them in the plastic binder store in my center binder!
To keep with a 'buried treasure' theme I had the boys use 'treasure' (coins) to cover the answers 

You could also use bottle caps (water or juice bottles), pom poms, big googly eyes, counters/chips, etc!

The boys also got to play with the number puzzles
and lucky for you, you can try out a similar version for free!

Kim has these 'Making 10 Ocean Puzzles' as a free download in her TPT store!

She also has follow-up printables for the math concepts covered!  We practiced some counting, cutting and gluing using this one:

he first guessed '4'- so I said 'touch them and count them' to get the correct answer!

and he got quite the chuckle that they numbers were out of order when he was all done!

So to rate this product...I give it 4 stars!
This is definitely a unit I would incorporate into my Kindergarten classroom, and it can easily be used in a PreK/School classroom as well.  My kinders could do these activities on their own with limited assistance and guidance so that I could work with small groups for guided reading.

If you think this is something your students would love, Kim has put it on sale for the duration of this hop!
You can find it by clicking here:

She is also allowing me to give a copy away to a lucky person!
Enter this rafflecopter for your chance to win it!

The next product comes to you from Suzy Palmer from On The Go Teacher Mama!

This pack is perfect for grades 1-3.  The grade 1 kiddos may need a tad bit of help with some of the components, but the 2's and 3's can do it independently!

Here is what is included in the pack:

Suzy has provided wonderful previews of what is included:
These are the components of the 'Memory Book'
You can also use them individually for a back to school writing center activity, morning work 'do-now' and/or for a great 'back to school'/'meet the teacher' bulletin board display!

Here are some of her activity pages.  They can be used for partner work to get your new students talking and working together and/or independently.  They would be great to add to a 'menu' of activities that need to be completed for the day and/or as 'early finisher' activities!

These pieces are included for you to use to make a class bulletin board.  She gives detailed instructions on how to manage distribution and collection and has provided some blank pieces for other ideas you may have on how to use them!

Here are the graphing components she has included.  Students can graph how they get to school, their favorite ice cream and/or favorite part of school!
These would make great independent math center activities too!

She has literally shown you everything in her pack with the previews provided!

I wanted to give Suzy's pack the full review that it deserves, but I don't have 'access' to any 7-9 year olds!  I did do the interview with my soon-to-be-kindergartner and the answers are quite cute:

Have your students fill out the interview, and make a self portrait.  Then at the end of the school year revisit them and see how much has changed!

Suzy wanted to have you try out components of her pack so she has uploaded this FREE sampler:
It includes 3 of the pages from her Back to School pack!

So how do I rate her pack:
It includes a great variety of activities for teachers to choose from!
You can differentiate the activities to meet student needs and use them for grouping and pairing!
If you teach grades 2-3 this is definitely a pack you want to consider acquiring to make your back to school and beginning year planning a bit easier!

The pack includes all printables- perfect for teachers who are limited on color printing/copying!
Project onto a Eno/Smart board for classroom discussion and/or directions too!

Suzy has put the Back to School pack on sale for the duration of the hop and you can find it here:

In addition, she would like to give one of her packs away for free!
Enter this rafflecopter for a chance to win it!

Be sure to visit Life Over C's and On The Go Teacher Mama to find their reviews of my products and a chance to win them for free on each blog!

Looking for more blogs involved in:
Here they are:

Wishing you a wonderful start to a new and fabulous school year!
Until next post,
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