Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping Pets Safe During a Huricane

During a hurricane, it is extremely important to remember that your pet is relying on you.  The ASPCA says "If you're not safe, neither is your pet."  Keep your pet with you or close by at all times.  Be sure to have a leash handy and a carrier.
The ASPCA has issued the following tips for pet owners:
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date identification. Micro-chip your pet as a more permanent form of identification.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies. Take this with you if you evacuate.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.

12 hours till the "eye of the storm hits" New Jersey.

During the storm, depending on the intensity (which seems will be high), try to keep your dogs relaxed.  If you are tense, they will be too.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Upgrading Curriculum & Assessment w/ Student Blogfolios

Day 2 - edJEWcon - Session 4: Curriculum & Assessment with Student Blogfolios

Side Note: The header for this post is one of the topics I will be discussing on my new Wiki.  iBark in the Classroom It is still at the developing stages, so if you take a look, be aware that it only has some of the topics so far and no content.

Blogs + Portfolios = Blogfolios

*give option to parents about public accessibility*
-- allows password protecting
--no student last names

Blogging = Writing = Following the Writing Process (Drafting, Revising, Editing, Publishing)

Blogging allows for creative expression.  It allows students to put themselves out there and express their opinions.

Digital Citizenship -- no cyberbullying

Developing Digital Skills

"Remember It is A Process"

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week of Training & Conferences

Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer Certification

Two days in Garden City, New York for the MIE training course and now I'm back and am certified to train other teachers!  The course began with an introduction into using Microsoft products in the classroom and for professional development.  I have to say, the word "FREE" really got my attention many times.

Microsoft OneNote was a big discussion point for the conference, especially because it is so versatile.  While it is not "Apple friendly" (I did ask), OneNote is available via a web app version once you sign up with Windows Live -- which I will talk about more in a little bit.

I am a devoted Apple girl, even though my school uses PCs.

So what did I learn at this conference?  TONS, which I will go into more later.

edJEWcon Conference 2012

Three day conference in Jacksonville, Fl completely centered around Jewish education and using 21st century tools!  Today is Twitter, tomorrow hopefully I will get to go to the session titled "Improving Student Writing Through Blogging" -- something which my students are already doing, followed by Blogfolios, and lastly on Tuesday, Pinterest which I am super excited for since I already use it!

I'll keep you all posted.  We got some great new technology for the school; a flip camera, an iPad, and an iPod Touch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm Bark...I mean BACK!

Sorry everyone that I have been MIA for awhile.  I'm sure you read my last post that I got engaged and got a new puppy, but I also went on a vacation to Disney World over Spring/Passover Break, grades are due, and am now in the process of planning my wedding.  I'm back now, and I'm super excited to share with you some new ideas I have.

Last Friday I taught both 5th and 6th grades, and because we are nearing the end of the year, but also starting our 4th and last quarter, I decided to do something a little different.  The students have had tons of practice with learning Microsoft Word and have been tirelessly practicing their typing skills using Mavis Beacon, but now I want them to use what they've learned.  Using Kidblog, a safe blogging website that teachers can set up for their students (and monitor) I have created accounts for each student and organized them by grade/class.

Each week the students will alternate between a list of prompts to choose from or time for "free-write."  While they all can't be dog themed, I will include at least one prompt that has something to do with dogs.  Today's doggy prompt is: "What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?"  Today a few of my students chose this prompt, but the rest of them favored "If you had $1 million what would you buy?" and   "If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?"  Incorporating blogging into the computer curriculum has so far proven to be beneficial.  The students are using technology that they have not used before and they are practicing their keyboarding skills by typing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Engaged to the love my life! I'm PAWSITIVELY ecstatic!

Friday night, March 9th, 2012 @ 5:45pm after my hair appointment, I walk in the door to my apartment and I see the most adorable little puppy at the door going crazy with excitement (when his tail wags, his whole body wags).  I look up at Scott and say "Is this for me?"  He says "Yes."  He did tell me that he was getting me an anniversary present WE would both love, but I did not expect a puppy (since we were planning on getting one over the Summer).
Engagement Ring
Will You Marry Us?
While getting tons and tons of doggy kisses, I look over and my boyfriend (now my fiance), he tells me to look at his tag. So I do, well actually I try, the little furball is still super excited and just wants to keep kissing my face.I can barely read the tag with the dog moving so much. As he gets down on knee, I see him pull out a gorgeous ring, out of the most perfect box, and says "Will you marry me?"  My heart was beating so fast!  Of course I said "Yes!"  I love him soo much and his proposal was perfect!  After putting on the gorgeous ring and giving him many kisses, he tells me to look at the dog's collar (The dog has finally calmed down enough). Finally, I see it says "Will you marry us?"  Isn't that the sweetest thing ever!

Filly -- my Shih Tzu/Terrier

It gets better.....awhile back I had shown him this cat commercial with the proposal on the collar, but apparently, he had already thought of doing this before I had even shown it to him!  He is such a romantic.  What's amazing is that he was able to keep it from me this long.  He actually bought the ring back in December!  The funny part is that we went to look at rings again in February, and were planning to go again in March/April.  I had no idea that he had already bought it!  He had convinced me that we were going to get engaged on my birthday!

As for the adopting a puppy, apparently he has been visiting the puppy for the past 3 weeks (telling me that he is working late) so he could get him ready to take home!   I am soo excited to be engaged to the love of my life!  Scott is an amazing fiance and my best friend.  Someone I completely trust and am soo excited to be able to spend the rest of my life with him. <3

Ring Balloon -- Bling Bling

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How...WOOF....

Back from my trip to Florida....I apologize for not posting (it was also parent-teacher conferences & report card time)

After reading, whether silently or as a whole class, it is important for the students to be able to discuss and recall the events that happened in the story.  What happened, where did it take place...etc...  The 5 W's (+1 H) is a great tool that is commonly used as a graphic organizer in many classrooms.  It is also a great resource for students to use after reading articles/current events.  

The 5 W's
  • WHO is the story about?
  • WHAT happened?
  • WHEN did it happen?
  • WHERE did it happen?
  • WHY did it happen?
  • HOW did it happen?
My design utilizes my "dog theme" and can be copied onto student handouts.  This is a miniature size of the 5 W's.  I have one that I also enlarged and laminated to hang on the wall in my classroom.  You can also even let the students color their own copies to make them more personal.  I've noticed that when kids personalize a notebook or a folder, they tend to be more excited to use it!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Flat Dog Collection

Ever heard of Flat Stanley? Flat Stanley is a book series about a boy who until one night when his bulletin board fell on him, was normal. Now, he is only 1/2 an inch thick and can mail himself across the world in an envelope. Here's the linking point. Envelopes - Letter Writing - Teaching.

Letter writing is an important skill for students to learn. Nowadays, while I am all for technology, writing an email and mailing a letter just aren't the same. Think about it, would you prefer a handwritten Thank You letter or an email? Using Flat Stanley as a "hook" keeps the kids interested. So now you're probably wondering WHERE ARE THE DOGS? Every teacher I've talked to has the kids create their own flat friend and mail him to a family member, in hopes that they will take a picture with him/her and mail him/her back. So why not instead of creating a flat human friend, how about a flat canine friend?

In my post "Personalize your own paper dog" I talked about having the students decorate their own dogs to look like them if they were transformed into a pooch. This "Flat Dog" activity is very similar so it would be best to choose between the two. I would still use the Fashion Angels Design a Heavenly Wardrobe but I would give the students more freedom. Suggest to them to go with their parents to the local A.C. Moore or Michaels and pick up some glitzy or themed paper, gems, stickers...etc.. and decorate their dog. If they are lucky and have extra fabric or wallpaper, those work perfectly too!

Moving back to the lesson --- the IMPORTANT PART

When teaching friendly letters, it is vital that you have an example for the students and a template for them to follow. We know very well that everyone learns differently. For my 3rd and 4th graders I created a template, a list of ideas/topics to include in the letter, and an example.

As you can see from the image, I kept up with the dog them by using stationery I found online, and proceeded by labeling each part of the friendly letter. Next, I gave my students a list of what to include, and finally an example letter to my "pretend" Uncle Frank.

Example Letter

February 9, 2012

Dear Uncle Frank,
We are learning how to write friendly letters in computer class following the book Flat Stanley. Enclosed is my flat dog, Koko. he is a 13 1/2 year old chocolate lab with grey eye eyebrows and a big head. Koko is a bit of a troublemaker. ONE DAY........


When he was a puppy he could sit in my lap. Today, even though he still thinks he is a puppy and tries to sit on my lap or sleep in my bed. I end up being pushed off. 1 point Koko, 0 points Miss Lindsay!

My family spoils Koko! I expect you will do the same. Nobody can say "no" to his cute, chubby face. He loves to play tug-of-war and clean the dishes in the dishwasher.

Miss Lindsay

P.S. His favorite food is pancakes!

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 CalenDogs

We are nearing the end of January 2012 and I finally finished my classroom calendar. It took awhile, but it was definitely worth the wait. Having an interactive calendar is a great way to get the students involved in learning the year, seasons, months, days...etc...If you are lucky to have a SmartBoard or a projector in your classroom, head on over to where an interactive/hands-on calendar is available everyday! Once the kids get used to using it, you can ask them more questions. For example: how many Monday's are in January? or What day of the week is our 100th ay of school?

Since I am a computer teacher this year and I don't really do much with calendars (besides in the beginning of the year when I have each student visit I decided to create my own little "foldable" calendars. Mr. Printables is a site with "oodles of free printables for kids." The site was recently updated! Exploring the site I managed to find their calendar section, where they have these things called Monthters. They are these monthly monsters calendars that fold to a small pocket size and stretches to a long monthly calendar! Because I don't really like monsters. I edited the image using Pixelator (a Mac program) and changed all the monthly monters into dogs!
I think I did a pretty good job, but the credit of the design and the idea definitely goes to Mr. Printables! Today is January 30th, so on my foldable calendar I will use a sharpie and outline the number. You can kind of see from the picture, but each day of the week I outline the date in a sharpie so that when my students ask "What is today's date?" I can easily look over to the wall and tell them.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Place Value Puppies

On the hunt for "teaching printables" I came across an adorable two page file folder game where students have to match each number (dog) to the correct place value (bone). I absolutely love the dog graphics used and how the bones look like they are filled with manipulative cubes used for counting. While the download does cost $2.60 from Aimee Asher, if you don't have time to create your own, I would have to say it is a worthwhile investment. (As long as you are actually going to use it!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paws on Paper -- Make your own Raised Line Paper

I love to write and doodle, but as a kid I was a perfectionist and I never listened to my teacher about how to hold my pencil. Today, while I do have handwriting that looks like it has been typed, I definitely think listening and learning to write the correct way would make my hands less stiff after writing for awhile.

Today MEAD along with many other companies has special paper available to purchase that helps students with staying in the lines. During student teaching, my cooperating teacher made her own paper which was great for the kids because it was designed to help them with their writing. I've seen houses like the one below, the Cat and the Hat and even a tree. Personally I would like to make my own and design it to look like a dog house. But that will be in the future when I am teaching Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade.

Raised line paper is an excellent tool for teaching, but can be a litte expensive. Luckily, if you have the time and patience, you can easily make your own by using some of these tricks:

1. Glue: Glue the lines of the paper and let dry for 24 hours. Use colored glue to highlight the lines. Use red and green colored glue to create your own "stop and go" lined paper.

2. Puffy Paint: Apply puffy paint to the lines, it will add dimension.

3. Wax String (Wikki Stix): Put wax string sticks along the lines of the paper. These are great because they are reusable.

4. Rubber Bands: Put a lined worksheet on a clipboard and wrap rubber bands around the board. Then tell the students to write between the rubber bands.

5. Embossing: My favorite. Use an embossing tool and on the back, press down and raise the lines on the front of the paper.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hot Diggity Dog Organization Tips for a Clutter Free Classroom

As teachers we tend to be hoarders. We keep a copy of everything (not necessarily student work), but every handout, printout, pattern template...etc.. You get the picture. Keeping track of everything gets super tedious, especially when you also have to store and organize art supplies. For example, every holiday I like to do a craft with my students, and even though I am the tech teacher I try to do something w/ and w/o the computers. A combination of the two.

Right now my storage space is limited, since most of my closet is filled with computer junk (cords, wires, headphones, ink...etc... But one technique that I've seen used is to go to the Apple store and ask them for old laptop boxes. They are spacious, have a handle, and can be easily labeled. They also don't take up a lot of room.

While it may be fun, it is hard to create an organization system that revolves around your theme.

However, Teacher Created Resources has a Paw Print Lesson Book that is super cute and matching bulletin board decor. I bet you could also find paw print file folders and labels somewhere.

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Math Center

Working with manipulatives is an excellent way to build student math skills. Having a math center (or math rug) allows the students to collaborate and work together to solve problems via a worksheet or oral directions from the teacher. What I love about manipulatives is that they come in so many different shapes and sizes. I've seen teddy bears and farm animals, but my favorite would have to be DOGS.

The different colors can be used for making patterns or simply for doing basic math (adding, subtracting...etc..) If you are lucky, you might even be able to find the dog counters in different breeds to make the lessons more interesting.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Incentives, Incentives, Incentives

In every classroom I've been in, whether teaching or observing, the teachers use some sort of incentive to motivate their students. I've seen sticker charts, marbles, grab bags, prizes...etc... In my computer class I use a prize bin filled with erasers. I would have preferred to get erasers shaped like dogs, paw prints and bones, but instead I felt that I needed to stick with the technology concept and got little computer mice, keyboards and the new obsession at my school, "Angry Birds". Nevertheless, the container is covered in paw prints and is from Petco. (I assume it is supposed to be used for dog treats).

Anyways, having a prize box is easier when you have to teach every grade (along with a check off sheet to make sure every student gets a prize eventually), but I would say that using marbles or a sticker chart is a much better method for the younger grades (when you are only teaching one).

Unique Teaching Resources has some great puppy themed sticker charts that are available to purchase. They also have templates available for punctuation bulletin boards and book reports.

The book report packet even comes with a grading rubric, "puppy themed" of course!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Woof to Twenty

Counting is a very important skill that needs to be developed in the early years of childhood. Kindergarten (ages 5-6) is usually the time when this skill is stressed. Setting certain milestones or goals for the children is a great way to motivate them, but also helps you as the teacher keep track of their progress.

Using videos as a teaching resource is a "fun" way to get the kids interested. Have Fun Teaching has some great videos that teach kids how to count by 1s, 2's, 3s...etc... They even offer videos for other subjects including: language arts and phonics.

While I may be a technology teacher. You can not solely rely on technology. Sometimes it doesn't work, so you should always have a backup. Or if you are using a video, convert it and save it to your computer. Zamzar is a great program for that.

Getting back to the dogs... Wordle or Tagxedo are both excellent websites that allow you to create a word clouds. Wordle is a little more restrictive, whereas Tagxedo actually lets you create the word clouds in a picture format (or import your own). While technically the idea is to create a word cloud, I decided, why not create a number cloud from 1-20.

Looking at the "number cloud," the teacher can ask the students to locate a certain number, find all the even numbers and circle them, or circle only the numbers 1-20 that are divisible by two. The shape of the cloud keeps up with the theme and makes the activity more interesting than a simple "number search."

Personalize Your Own Paper Dog

Dog cut-outs can be used for many things. Backing up to the beginning of the year, many teachers give the students a body shape cut-out and have them personalize it. Instead, why not give each student a dog shape and have them decorate it with the the question "If I were a dog, what would I be and how would I look?

Last year we took pictures of the kids and glued their faces on the bodies. Then we used old wallpaper to make clothing for the cut-outs. Wallpaper books are hard to find nowadays. If you go to Home Depot and ask, they usually say they don't have any "old" ones or they are "all out." The best method is to ask an interior decorator. I got some great ones, and even some books of rug fabric!

Finding different dog shapes is the next step. The Internet is a good place to start, but I personally preferred to purchase the Fashion Angels Design a Heavenly Wardrobe. It comes with EVERYTHING!

The dogs, the clothing patterns, and some pretty paper. The dogs are very durable, which means they will last for a long time. The patterns are on cardstock, but I would suggest laminating them to be safe and maybe tracing the dogs on cardstock to have an extra set somewhere.

Another project that these dogs can be used for is Valentine's Day cards. Dress your pooch in fun Valentine's Day themed paper and stickers and on the back, have the kids write a message to their parents. What a great way to say "I woof you!"

"Paw Prints on our Hearts"

Last year around Christmastime/Hanukkah & mid-January I lost both my dog and my father. It was a hard time, but knowing in my heart that they are together in heaven made it less painful. Koko loved my dad. The saying "Man's Best Friend" definitely applied to my family. This blog, is dedicated to both of them. Dad always told me pursue my dreams and find something I love to do. I love dogs and I love teaching, so I decided to combine the two! Thank you dad.

After having graduated from Drexel University, and having spent months looking for a job, I am now the Educational Technologist (technology teacher & coordinator) for a K-8 Jewish day school in East Brunswick, New Jersey. I'm half way to my dream job -- to be a Kindergarten teacher and a technology coordinator. While I had anticipated teaching only younger children, I am enjoying my time teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade.

Being the Educational Technologist, it is a little unusual to have a classroom theme that is not technology or computer related, but all through college I knew that my classroom, no matter what I taught, would have a dog theme. So I embraced it and was able to integrate it with technology. My bulletin board at the beginning of the school year had pictures of dogs on computers with a paw print border, and my room has paw prints scattered across the walls in different colors. The school theme this year is 30th anniversary, so I integrated that as well by creating a numbered list of 30 things each grade will learn this year, and printed it with a dog watermark, courtesy of DJ Inkers "Dog Daze Classroom Download." Even though a "dogs" theme is more appropriate for the lower grades, I have found that the upper grades enjoy it. It makes me seem like the "fun" teacher, but they also know, that they are here to learn and while I may be the youngest teacher at the school, I do not accept inappropriate behavior.

Searching the Internet, you read about other people using a "dog" theme in their classroom as well, but they never post what they actually do, or ideas they have besides what to put on a bulletin board. If you are truly going to use a theme in your classroom, you need to embrace it and embed it in everything you do. For the holidays find dog themed holiday units. If you are teaching addition, use manipulatives that look like bones or dogs. There are soo many ideas out there and ways to incorporate something you are passionate about into your classroom and that is what this blog is designed to do.