Friday, May 31, 2013


I know many of you have heard about to fund your classroom needs and projects, but have you heard about to fund your creative projects?

Kickstarter is similar to DonorsChoose in that people from around the world can discover and sponsor your project.  I think Kickstarter would be a great funding opportunity for you teacher-creators who want to write your own children's books or create an app.

See what this teacher-creator is doing and consider helping him fund his project.  His project is animated music videos that go with songs he wrote and recorded to teach beginning Spanish.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Teachers Care for Oklahoma

My colleagues at TpT have put together four fabulous bundles of teacher resources as a fundraiser for Oklahoma. 


Here are the details:

"Materials range in subjects, with the majority meeting Common Core Standards. The bundles are separated by age group. There are 2 bundles for K-2 age group, and 2 bundles for the 3-6 age group with clipart as well. Each bundle is valued at well over $100.00, and will be made available for a $25.00 donation. These bundles will be available for a LIMITED TIME, beginning Friday, May 24 through Monday, June 3rd, 2013.

100% of the proceeds for this fundraising event is being collected by TPT, and will be distributed by check to the appropriate Moore Oklahoma School District Representative earmarked to specifically aid the teachers as they begin the process of rebuilding."

What a great value and great cause to support!   Below are the links to each bundle.  Click each link for a list of the items included in that bundle and to make your donation.

K-2 Bundle 1
K-2 Bundle 2
3-6 and Clipart Bundle 1
3-6 and Clipart Bundle 2

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Read Me Stories App


My students love picture books and I find it is a great way for them to hear English words in context.  My problem is that in Guatemala there is not easy access to all of the wonderful picture books I would love to use.  I have found many great websites that read books to children, but the problem is that those require an internet connection, which we don't currently have in the school.  So, I went in search of an app that will read picture books and doesn't require an internet connection.  I found the perfect solution- "Read Me Stories"!

The app is free to download.  You can then access one free book in each set of books.  If you like the book you can then purchase the whole set for only $1.99.  In one set of fable stories I received 13 books for $1.99!  The app then unlocks one book in the set each day the app is used.  The idea is to foster a habit of reading.  I found there is also a way to unlock specific books, which is helpful since I want certain themes to read to the whole class.  I tried a free fable this morning with my Kinders.  They loved it (of course!) and begged convinced me to let the app read two more stories to them.  I then tried one of the longer stories with my 3-6 grade class and they loved the app too!  They especially appreciated that the story was read with expression and different voices for each character.  I can see how this app will help build their fluency and expression!  This app is definitely going on the iPads as soon as they arrive!

This app is availble for Apple and Android!  The books are offered in sets so that you can choose the level and concepts that fit your students.  Oh, and I almost forgot to add what impressed me the most! The stories use great vocabulary.  It provided a little extra challenge for my ELLs, but I can see how it will enrich their vocabulary.  The books are also interactive.  At the end of each page you can tap the characters to hear what they are thinking.  The characters like to ask questions to the reader, too! (They took my job as teacher!)  Ok, I'm going on and on.  Download the free app and give it a try!

Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Deal with Anger

It was one of those days.  The type where I am so glad it is finally over and so thankful that we made it through.  This year I have a few students whose personalities clash- a few pairs that it seems will never get along.  It doesn't help that we are at a boarding school and so the children spend all day and evening together.  I have talked with each student, but after today I'm ready to break out a whole class in depth lesson on dealing with clashing personalities and anger.  In fact, I can probably get through the year with the fighting of personalities, if only the aggressive anger would stop...

I'll be honest, I was almost in tears by the end of the day.  Today it seemed like every child with anger management problems was in distress and lashing out.  Neither kind words nor stern words would do the trick.  For the emotional health of these children and the safety of the children around them, it is time for a more positive, preemptive approach.  (Ok, so I am a little late handling this situation.  I mean preemptive in the sense of preempting future negative displays of anger.)  It is time for an anger management plan.  While my lesson is still in development, I'd like to share this little song I came up with tonight. 

I am thinking of having each kid write about what will work for them when they are angry and that will be their plan.  Each kid can have customized lyrics.  "If you're angry and you know it (do whatever you have planned to handle your anger)"  Now I just need a good picture book to launch the lesson.  Any ideas?
I am also thinking of writing other lyrics to the same tune for other emotions (sad, nervous, etc.).  Please let me know if you would be interested in me publishing those.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I know some of you are switching to Bloglovin, so I thought I'd add that widget as well!  I plan to keep Friend Connect.  I figure you appreciate options. :) 

Also, I was feeling the need for a change in appearance.  How do you like my new blog background?  I think I really like the colors-green and purple.  My blog may get a bigger make over in July when the school year is finally over.  I need to make a blog button too.

Thank you for reading my blog!  I am always open to your thoughts and opinions. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lalalingo! Learn beginning Spanish through music

Kids love learning through music and even more so when there is a music video to watch! Teacher, Cesar Alvarez, has gone the extra mile for his students and in doing so is benefiting students around the world.  He wrote and recorded 13 catchy songs that teach Spanish vocabulary and simple sentences. If you teach Spanish or want a fun way for your young children to learn Spanish, check out Cesar's work.  Now, Cesar is working on creating videos for each song. Check out the videos he has already completed! Click the link under the image above! I wish I had a high quality material like this to teach my students English!

Friday, May 10, 2013

We won 1:1 iPads!

We did it! We won a grant for 1:1 iPads for the boarding school in Guatemala where I work. This was the best teacher appreciation gift I could receive-something for my students (haha!).

Our goal is to provide first class education to children in these multi-age classrooms in a school where teachers have little access to materials. The iPads should make it easier for teachers to individualize learning.  I can't wait for the teachers to fully implement the iPads.  No more trying to create teaching materials with simple paper and marker and no more trying to teach an entire class with one 8.5x11 workbook!

I ran a pilot program with one iPad in the Kinder/First grade class. I brought in my personal iPad loaded with bilingual educational apps.  I selected three students to join me at a table and I handed one of the girls the iPad.  I then began to take photos.  She tried to get me to teach her how to use it once, but I encouraged her to try to figure it out.  Within minutes she was deep in concentration and fun learning animal names in English and Spanish.  Within the space of an hour, the students explored about half a dozen apps.  It wasn't long before I had almost the entire class around the table observing and begging for a turn.

My students' favorite app is "Kinder Add" which they have nicknamed "quesito" (little cheese) because the app gives brain breaks which involve the students solving a maze for a mouse to his cheese.  Each student has their own profile on the app.  Students solve a series of addition problems with the app guiding them through varying solving methods (counting on, using a number line, etc.) in the beginning.  The app even gives single question exams periodically.  My students love this feature!  They also love when they level up in the app.  I love that the app tracks data on the skills students are working on.  I can see their progress and areas where they need more practice. 

My students get to watch one movie a week at the boarding school.  On a rare occasion we give them an extra movie, usually for a reward or party day.  One day they got a surprise movie, but rather than watch the movie I had three little kids begging me to let them play the addition "game." Now the students ask daily to use my iPad for educational apps.  (Did I make a mistake letting them use my iPad?!)  Thankfully they should each be getting one to use in the school very soon.

To get the grant, I wrote up (more or less what I wrote here above) about the pilot program.  I also included research on the educational benefits of iPads in third world countries.  Kids in rural Africa are learning English by simply being given a tablet!  We priced out the iPads and accessories and their availability here in Guatemala.  I attached some photos of the kids with my iPad. My grantwriter wrote the formal ask and confirmed with me a budget based on the amount she thought we could win.  Well, she worked her grant magic and we won!

Now the real work begins of purchasing, installing, and implementing the iPads.  I plan to give the students an iPad boot camp to teach them some of the ins-and-outs.  I will also be giving some professional development technology courses to the teachers.  Implementing 25 iPads seems like a big project!

Do you have any recommendations for implementation?  Great apps?  Especially for Spanish speakers?  Any and all iPad related advice is appreciated.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

International Teacher Appreciation

Did you know that World Teacher's Day is the first Friday in October? That means we could celebrate twice! 

While my American teacher friends are celebrating teacher appreciation this week, Teacher Appreciation Day in Guatemala is not until June 25. I am enjoying celebrating with you all through cyber space! So in a way, I guess I get to celebrate three times this year!

Besides awesome discounts and free food (so jealous!), how has your school and community shown appreciation for you?

Feeling unappreciated?  Check out Capitally Frugal's list of stores giving discounts for teachers.  I couldn't believe the number of great deals out there!  YOU are appreciated!
Thank you for educating our nation's children!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Big News! We Appreciate You Sale!

As teachers we work very hard often spending our own time and money to give our students the best education.  TpT and I want each and every teacher to feel appreciated.  May 7-8 (Tues. & Wed.) I am having a 20% off Teacher Appreciation Sale on all items in my TpT store and TpT is giving an additional 10% off if you use the code TAD13.

Stop by TpT to clean up your wish list and get some great deals (Tuesday and Wednesday only)!
Your hard work is appreciated! Thank you for all that you do!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ms. BBZ is giving away my Thank You Notes Bundle and other awesome TpT products!

Checking in quickly this week to let you know about an awesome giveaway!

Ms. BBZ is giving away my Thank You Notes Bundle.  Enter for your chance to win my resource and many other great resources. She is giving away three packages which are organized by grade level.  Check it out here! Good luck!

Don't forget to check back for important news this weekend!