Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tune Into Technology- Reading

I'm back at it joining Learning to the Core and iTeach1:1 for their Tune into Technoloy Linky Party.

For this week, the focus is all about Integrating Technology into Reading.  To do this, I'd like to introduce you to the app, Tellagami.

Tellagami is an app that allows you to create and share a quick animated video called a Gami.  Tellagami has two versions that are available.  A free version and Tellagami EDU ($4.99) which is the classroom paid version that allows no in-app purchases.

I came across Tellagami while taking one of my PD classes.  Surprisingly, I had heard about Tellagmai before, but had not explored it.  I'm glad that I did take the time to explore it because this is an app that I believe would be suitable for all grade levels and students would have a blast creating their own animated videos.  

Having explored the free version, I'm definitely considering making the purchase of the EDU version, because the free version has very limited choices in terms of creating your avatar without making a purchase.

Now, how does this connect to reading???  Here are some of the quick ideas that I've come up with:
  • Students create a book review regarding their favorite book and they can create the avatar as the main character.
  • Select a character from a book to tell a story or recent an important event.
  • Pick a person in history and have the students create an informational video.
  • Students can recite their favorite poem. 
Be sure to check out the video below that I created as a means for introducing my new position this year.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Technology Thursday/Throwback Thursday

This morning, I'm linking up with Teaching Trio and Teacher's Desk 6 for Technology Thursday and Throwback Thursday.


I thought that these would be the perfect parties to link together because what I would like to share for Technology Thursday is actually and Throwback post from the past.  Which I've discovered over the past year has been a true GEM!

This past year, my students complete paper facts test on various mathematical functions.  Each student started the year out on addition and when they score three 95% or higher (not in a row), they  progressed to the next function.  Midway through the year, I made a change to include something different.


What is XtraMath?  XtraMath is a FREE website that allows students to master fact fluency in just a few short minutes.  Students can access the website at school or at home to practice their facts.  In addition, teachers can get emailed updates that show the progress of their class.  Trust me, I hate overloading my email with junk, but this is one email that I don't mind getting.  

So now what does my math class look like now?  Well, twice a week, I have half of my class using a technological device (computer, iPad, iPod touch) to practice their math facts in as little as five minutes or less.  This has been way better and more exciting than a paper version for both the teacher and the student!  

 I was also able to discover that once a student completes all four functions on Xtra Math, you can increase the difficulty level allowing them to continue on. SWEET!  Also, I had a student who was having difficulty responding in the allotted amount of time.  Don't worry, Xtra Math has a fix for that one too!  I was able to increase the response time, providing that student the perfect amount of time!

Be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stitch Fix #1 Results- Tried It Tuesday

It's time for...

Back in April, I had posted about the journey that I was going to be starting with Stitch Fix.  Well, I finally received my first box last Wednesday and I'm anxiously awaiting my second box.  Here's what I received and my verdicts!

Item #1 
Tivola Wide Leg Chambray Pant
Kut From The Kloth

Verdict: Returned- Pants were way too long for me!

Item #2
Lexis Abstract Print Henley Tank Top

Verdict: Kept!  Loved everything about this tank from the cut, to the colors, to the print!  Perfection!

Item #3
Rhea Burnout Detailed V-Neck Knit Shirt
Under Skies

Verdict: Returned. :( I really wanted to keep this one, but I did not like how uncomfortably short  it was in the front.  Such a shame because I liked the rest of it.

Item #4
Aleah V-Neck Solid Dolan Sleeve Shirt

Verdict: Returned.  Peach?  Seriously?  Um..NO!  Loved how soft it was, but the cut was not for me. :(

Item #5
Rylin Rhinestone Teardrop Pendent Necklace
Marlyn Schiff

Verdict: Returned.  Such a pretty necklace, but I couldn't justify buying another necklace to hang in the jewelry box. 

And so I await the arrival of my second fix!  It's scheduled to arrive the first week in July so check back soon!

Monday, June 16, 2014

First Official Monday Made It- Summer 2014

I'm starting my week off right with my first official Monday Made It for the 2014 Summer.  This Monday Made It is a big accomplishment for me because I just hosted a bachelorette party for my BFF who is getting married in two weeks!  EEKKK!  Can't believe that it's happening so soon!

For her bachelorette party, she wanted to go country line dancing!  So, I went with a classy girl country theme.  
The Flower Vases
I created these country flower vases with a classic canning jar from Michaels.  In the middle, I hot glued laced ribbon and then followed up with a pink ribbon bow.  Topped off with some babies breath and it was the perfect floral arrangement for a bride who hates flowers. 

Country Wine Glasses

I skipped the normal party cup and created these lovely party favors that people were able to take home.  Using the classic canning jar from Michaels, I ordered the bronze flower lids from Jane and then topped them off with colored string and name tags.  Keep in mind that this was a bachelorette party (hence the reason for the naughty straws).

Mantle Creation

Last, but not least, I use some string and clothes pins to create a "recipe line."  Each guest was asked to bring their favorite recipe to share with the bride and I used the recipe cards as part of the decor.  In the center, I used an extra veil that we had to hide the clips that held the string to the mantle.  

All in all, the party was a huge SUCCESS!  We had such a blast and I'm so sad that it's over.  Now, I'll have to plan another party just so that I can start "crafting" again.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Technology Thursday- Google Educator Group

WAHOO!  I am officially on summer break and I'm so excited to get started working on my summer to-do list.  Before, I start that list, I'm linking up with Teaching Trio today for Technology Thursday.  

I recently came across an article regarding the launch of Google Educator Groups.  This is a new project that was just recently launched by Google as a way for educators to share their ideas regarding the use of Goolge products within their classroom or school. After reading the article, I decided to give it a try and join a GEG group within my area. I was lucky enough to find one in the Chicagoland area and I'm excited to start sharing and learning about new ideas with the use of Google.  Best of all, if you can't find a group in your area, you can become a leader and get one started.  Anyone else interested in joining the GEG-Chicagoland?  


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Well, it seems fitting to share my exciting news now that the school year is quickly coming to an end.  I am beyond excited to share that I'm going to be stepping away from the classroom next year to become a Technology Integration Specialist for my school district! A tech-a-what?  The purpose of a Technology Integration Specialist is to work with staff members to assist with the implementation technology into their daily instruction.  This will be a completely different role for me, but I am so happy that this door has opened and can't wait for the adventure to begin.  I was recently asked by a parent, "Won't you miss teaching in the classroom and all of the kids?"  Of course, I will, but I'm hoping that with this new position that I'll be able to integrate into the classrooms as much as possible to assist staff/teachers (at least that is my goal).

Blogging Buddies, do any of you currently have a TIS or something similar within your district?  How have you found this person to be helpful and what is one thing that you found valuable when working with them?  I am looking forward to hearing from you as I embark on this new adventure.

Ps...Now, I just have to figure out how to change the name of my blog from Turtley Loving Teaching to Turtley Loving Technology.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Stitch Fix

Well, I finally took the plunge after recently seeing another blog post about Stitch Fix.  If you haven't heard, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that sends you five "fashionista" goodies right to your door!  You share your style, size and preferences and they work their magic.

Sounds to good to be true, right?  Google it!  I did!  I found so many reviews and blogs about people who currently love and use it.

What's the catch?  Stitch Fix does have a $20 styling fee, but that fee can be applied as a credit to the items that you choose to keep.  Even better is you can cancel at any if I don't like my first box, I don't have to try a second one.  Although, most of what I've read does recommended that you try a second box.

Stitch Fix gives you 3 days to be a runway model and decide if you like the items.  The ones that you don't get sent back in a prepaid envelope and the goodies you keep go right to your closet.  Plus, if you like all 5 of your items then you get a 25% discount.

Truth be told:  I'm not a fashionista at all!  I'm a relaxed gal who would much rather wear jeans and hoodie on a daily basis, but life is about taking risks, right?  Well, I'm doing just that with Stitch Fix!  Hopefully, they'll help me find some fashionable accessories to add to my collection.  My first box is scheduled to arrive on June 11th (my first day of summer vacation)!  What a fantastic way to kick it off!

Check it out and enjoy,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bloglovin- Adding New Blogs

Happy Sunday!  I'm beyond excited that the sun is shining and it's going to be above 50 degrees today!  Flip flop weather is right around the corner and I can't wait!

This morning, I was playing around on Twitter and came across a couple of  technology blogs that I wanted to start following.  One of them happened to be Holly Clark's website called Remixing the Classroom.  Originally, I thought that the blog needed to have a Bloglovin icon to follow it using Bloglovin.  This morning, I found out that I was WRONG!  Even if the blog does not have a Bloglovin icon you can still follow it using these handy steps...

Step 1- Search blog name and when prompted add the blog to Bloglovin.

Step 2- Add the link from the blog website

Step 3- Click follow to start following that blog

Step 4- Perfection!

Now, you won't miss a post even if the blogger doesn't use Bloglovin!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Five For Friday (Spring Break Style)

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share my Spring Break Style of Five for Friday!

1. Warmer Weather....Please???

I'm all about spending Spring Back with my toes in the sand under a palm tree, but that didn't happen this year.  So instead, I'm dreaming that I'm there right now and anxiously waiting for Sunday when it's supposed to be 60 degrees.  

2. A Lucky Discovery

While on the hunt for a washroom in Macy's (Chicago), Mom and I came across the Secret Garden exhibit.  Amazing!  These creations were all made out of flowers.

3. Bigger Space

It was time!  I've been on the hunt for a bigger desk for my office.  Luck have it that I found this beauty in a store called, Second Chance.  It needs a little TLC repair, but that will be a summer project.  For now, it gives me the space that I need.

4. Turtle Cakes

Last Friday, I celebrated my 30th birthday!  WAHOO!  Little did I know that I my family and friends were working on a surprise party.  These cute turtles above became my birthday cake!

5.  Which Mac?

I'm in the process of trying to decide what MacBook I should get my future computer.  I've fallen in love with the MacBook Pro, but then I am also considering its counter part, The MacBook Air.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  Also, is it worth is for the Retina display?  The models in the store make it seem like it.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Genius Hour

How many of you have ever been to an educational conference that has ignited a passion inside of you that you couldn't wait to try out with your kids?

Well, I found that spark after attending the ICE Conference at the end of February. The spark that ignited my flame was a project called Genius Hour. Inspired from the search-engine giant, Google, which allows its engineers to spend 20% of their time working on any pet project that they want. The idea is very simple. Allow people to work on something that interests them, and productivity will go up. Google’s policy has worked so well that it has been said that 50% of Google’s projects have been created during this creative time period. Ever heard of Gmail or Google News? These projects are creations by passionate developers that blossomed from their 20-time projects.

So, how does that work in my classroom? Students participate in Genius Hour once a week for 30-45 minutes at the end of the day, if all other work is completed. After a mini-lesson on what was appropriate, students selected a topic to study with my approval. Each week, students will be given time in class to work on the project with the teacher serving as a facilitator. Some materials for the project can be found at school or may need to be provided from home. When the project is complete, students will need to present their findings to their peers.

To get this project up and rolling in my class, I first shared Kid President's Pep Talk video with my students.  Afterwards, we discussed why I would take the time to share this video with them.

From there, we started to discuss what our passions were and things that we like to do outside of school.  After a few minutes of sharing, I asked my students, "what happens if I told you that you could take one of your passions and study it in school?"  My kids thought I was joking, but after explaining the project to them, I had students falling out of their seat with excitement about this new adventure.  Think about it...when have you ever told your students that they could study whatever they wanted???  NEVER!  The excitement even carried into the weekend hours when I found out (on Monday) that some students had spent their weekend hours researching ideas and writing out their plan of action.  AMAZING!

Have I hooked you yet?  You know you want to try it!  Don't worry, the project connects to the Common Core State Standards and more!  I'm even in the process of writing up a proposal to share more information about Genius Hour at a conference this summer.  Don't worry, I 'll be sure to share my presentation with all of my readers.

Here are some of the materials that I used to get myself started....

Go ahead, you know you want to Google it now to see what it's all about!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Twitter Find

So, I just recently joined Twitter.  I know...I'm late to the game, but didn't think I ever needed an account.  Boy was I wrong!  I've learned in the past week that I'm mad at myself for not having created account earlier.  To prove it, here's one my lovely finds today that I could help but sharing with everyone.  I especially love number 7 because that's how I feel right now about a special project that I'm about to introduce to my class.  All I can say is that Friday can't come soon enough!

Follow me on Twitter @turtleyluvteach


Sunday, March 2, 2014

March Currently

The turn of the calendar can only mean one's time for Farley's Currently.

Listening: I love the weekend because I actually have time to make breakfast versus the 5 minute meal that normally happens during the week.

Loving: I went to the ICE Conference on Friday and I'm now filled with excitement.  I love how a conference reignites the spark inside of you.  I have a few ideas that I want to implement, but I’ll be sure to share them with you.

Thinking: Even though it's Sunday, it's a task list kind of day.  I need to go a visit a bridal shower location, look for "boyish" reward pencils and make a few returns.  Hopefully, I'll be successful at getting all of my tasks accomplished.

Wanting: I'm really looking forward to laying out some plans for Genius Hour.  This was something that I heard about at a conference that I attended back in January, but never made time for planning it out.  After attending the conference on Friday and hearing all the hype about the success that everyone is having....I'm all in!  I'll be sure to post more about this too.

Needing: The first day of March brought more snow!  Seriously...I live in a snow globe.  Need I say more?

????????: I recently decided to take a risk and apply for a Technology Integration Specialist position within my district.  At this point in my life, I feel like it's the right step for me to be taking to continue to pursue my passion for technology and educating others.  I'm hoping that by Spring Break my prayers will be answered and I can officially say that I got the job!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Official 2014 Post- January Currently

It's still sinking in that 2013 has come to a close and 2014 is here!  I'm excited for the new year and the possibilities that it holds.  To start the year off right, I'm linking up with Farley for her monthly Currently.