Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's a Second Grade Thing!

I am so excited to team up with some of my second grade bloggy friends to bring you a brand new, collaborative Pinterest board!
Click on the image to go to the board!
The purpose of this board is to share some of our spectacular second grade teaching ideas and resources with our followers. Here are some of the amazing bloggers participating:

To kick off our new board, we are giving away a $25 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers! WOO HOO!!! Check out the Rafflecopter below:

We are SO excited to be connecting with our amazing readers on Pinterest! See ya over there!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday {Tokyo Edition}

Konnichiwa sweet friends! My Spring Break is coming to an end...wahhhhh! It was so short (isn't it always?!?) but I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with family and friends here in Japan. This Five for Friday is coming at ya from Tokyo!

 We started our Spring Break in Tokyo visiting our sweet Japanese grandmother or "Nonna" as my hubby likes to call her. I know it isn't what you'd normally call your grandmother in Japanese, but the Italian name stuck and so Nonna it is! She is the sweetest!

Cherry blossoms or Sakura as they call them in Japan are blooming! I am SOOOO glad we got to see them in full bloom since they are GORGEOUS! We definitely don't have these in SoCal!

The hubby and I spent our 2nd anniversary celebration in Hakone, Japan. We spent a few days enjoying the natural hot springs and loving the traditional onsen. Now, I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to using the public baths...umm me naked with other women?? Nope. Thanks, but NO. Being a "westerner" the hubby booked us private baths instead of the traditional onsens. You can read all about those {HERE}. But I will say that I put my big girl pants on and tried the public one. I KNOW!!! Nobody really cares that you're in your birthday suit and it's all separated by you're just with girls. All-in-all, it was a different experience and now I can say I truly enjoyed the onsens!
This was one of the private baths you could reserve.
At our onsen, we got to wear traditional yukatas around the hotel. It's pretty neat seeing everyone wearing their robes at breakfast, dinner and around the onsen! :) Here we are trying to look cool wearing our yukatas!
 This is one of the little towns in Hakone. It reminds me of Cinque Terre in Italy with many little towns along the coast!

We also got to eat lots of traditional Japanese dishes at the onsen. This is what our dinners would look like! Oh yah...look at us and our fancy name cards! ;)
 What kind of trip would this be, if there wasn't any shopping!! I'll show more pics of all the CUUUUUTE Japanese shops in another post, but here I am in till I (or mostly the hubby) dropped!
And with this being my last day in Tokyo, I leave you with this looking like a sumo wrestler cause I just ate wayyyyy too much great food!!
Link up with Doodle Bugs and share your Five for Friday!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Something Borrowed-Common Core Homework

Hello sweet friends! I am BEYOND excited to be guest posting for Jen on her adorable Sparkling in Second blog today! While she's away on her wonderful honeymoon, I'll be sharing all about our 3rd grade Common Core homework! 

Now, join me on Jen's blog to read all about my homework!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Currently!

It's heeeeerrrrrre!!! SPRING BREAK IS HERE!!!!! Can you tell how excited I am?! Let me fill you in on my April currently hosted by the most fabulous Farley I know! :) I apologize for all the Spring Break excited to filter.
Listening: We leave for Tokyo in T-23 hours!!! Gotta brush up on my Japanese!! Konnichiwa, ogenki desu ka? Test time...what does THAT mean my sweet friends?

Loving: Need I say more? Nope. Spring Break=bliss!

Thinking: I'm still in the midst of packing...I hate how OCD I am and make packing a complete chore. I mean, I MIGHT need those extra 3 pairs of shoes. What else will I wear when we climb Mount Fuji? JK. I am NOT a hiker.

Wanting: Look away, Christy!!! :( Japanese ramen! I can't wait to have a bowl as soon as we land! YUM!

Needing: Wine. I mean water. I'm thirsty.

Hours & Last Day: Hours at work are from 8-3:15. Pretty easy breezy. Our last day with students is the 12th, but I have to be back to work the following week for a 2-day Google Chromebook training. {YUCK} BUT I am hoping we can get Google certified during those days too!

Link up with Farley and share your April currently!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Five for Friday! of my favorite words! Is anyone else just ready for break? Ours is not for another week...WAY too late if you ask me. I seriously can't wait for it!! Anybody else with me on this? Today I'm linking up with the fabulous Doodle Bugs Teaching to share my Five for Friday!
Spring Break...the hubby and I will be in Tokyo! Woo-hoo!! I've never visited Japan during this season, so I am super excited to see all the beautiful cherry blossoms! It is NO JOKE people! They take their blossom season very seriously! There are daily forecasts for when the gorgeous trees will bloom...for real. With a live action shot!! See example below for the craziness that is cherry blossom season...

 I got to spend Sunday morning chatting with the AMAZING and LOVELY Sheila from Sprinkle Teaching Magic for her "Teachers We Love" interview! I was beyond honored to even be considered for an interview! We chatted about all sorts of teaching and bloggy things. It was also fun getting to know her and talk all things organization! We're definitely Monica Geller twins. You should check out her other interviews on her Teaching YouTube Channel. Stay tuned for my episode coming out 4/4! She also ends her interviews with a picture of each interviewee. Please ignore the dork throwing up the peace sign! :)
The mister and I need to go and visit her in wine country! We'll make it happen, Sheila!!
 Started this little Social Studies Unit this week! It should be done by mid-April!
Did a little QR step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own QR codes this week! You can check that post out below by clicking on the picture. :) My kids think they are the coolest, most magical things ever!! LOVE ME SOME QR CODES!
My whole store will be on sale this weekend for some major spring cleaning!!! Make sure you head on over and check out my shop! :) I know I have a huuuuuge wishlist that will need to be shortened this weekend. Happy shopping!
 What are your plans for Spring Break? I'd love to hear!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

CUE & QR Code Tutorial {Part 1}

Happy Saturday friends! This past week, I got to attend the CUE Conference in lovely Palm Springs, CA. If you're wondering what it is, CUE is the largest and oldest education technology conference in CA. Over the past 30 years, CUE has helped educators, technology coordinators, administrators learn how technology can support student achievement growth in the classroom. It's really been an awesome experience getting to see first hand what educators are using in the classroom and most importantly...what works!

Since we're piloting the 1:1 Chromebooks in my classroom, most of the sessions I attended were Chrome or Google App related. But one of the sessions I attended was all about using QR codes in the classroom. Hmm...I thought to myself. I've seen 'em. I've even bought products that had these fuzzy square shaped things in them! I mean, I essentially knew you just pointed your cellphone or iPad camera at the image and BAM! You'd get a message, website, or image sent to your phone. Well my sweet education friends, there is SOO much more you can do with QR codes...especially in the classroom! So, today I'll be showing you step-by-step on how to create your own QR codes. 
Before I go onto the tutorial I have planned, here are a few quick facts about these magical square boxes...let the tech nerd in me share what I learned at my conference! ;)
  • QR is an acronym for "quick response barcodes"
  • QR codes started in Japan as part of car part identification  
  • Static QR code=always goes to just 1 place 
  • Dynamic QR code=code stays the same BUT it takes them somewhere else each time
  • Use them to embed images, links, numbers, or videos
  • Holds more info than a traditional code=unlimited possibilities!
There are TONS of QR code generators out there. A few suggested ones are Kaywa and GOQRme. Both are free and easy to use. I'm using Kaywa for this tutorial. I wanted to start with something simple...not complex for my qr code. I thought creating planet review cards for my kids would be the perfect addition to our Solar System Unit. So, I started out by creating an account with Kaywa. Once I signed up, I chose to create a static QR code that would always go to the same website or text when the kids scanned it. This is what you would see on your screen at this first step.

Next, I would choose where I'd like the code to go when it is generated. I picked a url for the planet Jupiter. Once you click generate, you'll see the QR code pop up! YAY! You've just created your first QR code! 
I then saved my QR code to my super organized desktop so I could paste it into my planet flash card.

And here is the finished product! Now when a student scans this Jupiter planet card, it will take them to a reading informational text passage about this specific planet!
But wait! You're not through yet! You have to test your QR code to make sure the link works the right way and your kids will be able to access the correct link. Be sure to try more than just one QR code reader. A great free tool is QR Code Reader, which automatically takes you to whatever it “reads.” This is what mine looked like on my can use it on an Android as well.  
Just click and wait for the ping or vibration to let you know it's read the code correctly. The camera on your phone or device scans the QR code. I scanned my computer picture, but you can also print and scan from any type of paper source. Mine worked perfectly and directed me to the reading passage online! Super easy to use!
The next and LAST (thank goodness) step is to track the number of scans by analyzing your data...similar to what google analytics does for blogspot blogs. You can see how many times your QR code was scanned or looked at, where and if they are being scanned. ALL sorts of great data! If you link the QR code to you blog or site this would be a great tool to see what traffic is being brought to your site. 
That's it my sweet friends! You are now ready and able to create a QR code on your own! You don't only have to use them for reading passages. QR code serve SO many purposes in the classroom! Here are a few ideas I've seen/heard from other teachers:
  • Create QR codes that need to be looked at in a dictionary or book 
  • Put them around the school library with links to book reviews and blog posts
  • Kids can scan and launch QR codes with mobile devices like iPads or tablets
  • Make a QR code to link to a specific video or tutorial 
  • Have a scavenger hunt around the classroom   
  • Take a virtual field trip to anywhere the code takes you 
The possibilities are endless! I hope you've learned a thing or two about using and creating QR codes for your classroom! What do you see yourself using QR codes for? I'd love to hear all about it!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Milestone Giveaway!

Happy Sunday friends! I am SO excited to bring you this fun March giveaway! 
This month, I've reached a few milestones for my TpT shop, IG, and blog! Woo-hoo! I am so very appreciative of you all who come back to my blog week after week and those who purchase my TpT products. As a thank you to all my sweet and loyal followers, I teamed up with the ever-so-awesome DJ Inkers to bring you this March giveaway! Aren't they the BEST?! Here are all the fabulous things you could win!
 DJ Inkers March Doodlers Clip Art
 DJ Inkers Whimzee March Clip Art
 DJ Inkers March Dazzle Clip Art
$25 TpT OR Amazon Gift Card!

How adorable is that March clip art though!? Dianne is a genius! Plus all the clip art sets include the clip art used in my unit. :) Would you like to win all of the items listed above from me and DJ Inkers? Easy-peasy my friends! Just use the Rafflecopter below to enter and I'll announce the winner on Sunday, the 23rd.
Once again THANK YOU for following this little blog of mine! These milestones could not be make possible without you guys! HUGS!
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