Linky Parties – QR Codes {8/01}

It’s Thursday and I’m killing two birds with one stone! I’m linking with with iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core‘s for their last Tune Into Technology series.  *sad face*  I have really enjoyed this series and have learned so many things!  This week’s focus is QR Codes and there’s a great giveaway, too!


I’m also linking with with Erin at I’m Lovin’ Lit for her Thursday Throwdown Linky Party.  QR Codes are definitely a way to keep learning interactive!


What is a QR Code?  you might ask.  Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) are  two-dimensional bar codes that can contain any alphanumeric text and often feature URLs that direct users to sites where they can learn about an object or place (a practice known as “mobile tagging”). – EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

QR Code Example

QR Code Example

With the advancement of QR Codes you can provide students with a variety of information:  URLs, YouTube videos, Google Maps Locations, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Four Square, App Store Download, iTunes link, Dropbox, Plain Text, Telephone Numbers, Skype Calls, SMS Messages, Email Addresses or Messages, Contact Details, Events, Wifi Login, etc.  Now that’s a whole lotta stuff!

I have not had the opportunity to use QR Codes in the classroom yet…..iPads coming in a few weeks! :-), but I’ve used them in a few ways and I have LOTS of plans for them.  Currently, I put the QR Code on our weekly contract that will give parents a link to our classroom website.  I’ve also created a QR Code to provide parents with my contact information.

Contract Pic


My upcoming plans entail the following:

Having a QR Code up on the Promethean board for students to scan as they walk in to direct them to the website I’d like us to start on or to embed QR Codes in the flipcharts once we get to a part of the lesson that will direct them to a certain site.

My dear bloggy friend Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching, does a neat idea that I am stealing….Scan to Win Tickets. She makes little cards and on each card is a QR code that awards a student some type of prize.  If you’re interested, head over the her TpT to find out more information about it!

I also plan to use them for scavenger hunts.  This year and last, students use ActivExpression devices to go on a scavenger hunt about the important people in our school.  The iPads are not quite ready yet, so next year the students will use their iPads to go on the Scavenger Hunt.

ActivInspire Scavenger Hunt

ActivInspire Scavenger Hunt


The final plan that I want to share is using QR Codes as a quick check during small group or independent work.  Students will complete assignments and then scan the QR Code to see if they answered the question correctly.

So there are my plans for QR Codes.  What are yours?

Until the next time,


Tune Into Technology – Integrating Technoloy Into Reading

Tech geek….yep that’s me. I make no bones about. I am a bonafide certified tech geek! So when I realized that iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core were hosting a weekly Tune Into Technology linky party…*gasp* I just HAD to join in!


I use technology in so many different ways! With us going to a 1:1 deployment, my brain is buzzing with new ideas, since the students will have immediate access to those devices. When we had the class set of netbooks it would be a hassle to get them out, make sure they’re charged, put them up mid-day to charge them so that we can use the rest of the day. But despite that, we were able to do miraculous things!

Web 2.0 Tools That We’ve Used


  • Kidblog – Our class blogging tool.  Students also used kidblog to save their writing drafts before having to submit them to me or post them to other sites.


  • Edmodo – Our social networking hub.  Students are able to take assessments on Edmodo (that I don’t have to grade! :-)), respond to polls, post questions, and writing assignments.  I absolutely <3 it!




  • Xtranormal – Xtranormal instantly turns your words into a 3D animated movie. You can choose your characters and the motions/emotions that you’d like them to exhibit.



  • Animoto – Take pictures, videos, and music and create a beautiful movie!  Students have created book trailers, videos about them, videos that focus on the particular theme from a novel or story.

Wordle Tagxedo

  • Wordle and Taxedo – word clouds.  Students have created word clouds about themselves, characters, novels, themes, etc.  With Taxedo, the word clouds can actually take the shape you want.



  • and today’s highlight…..Voki – talking avatars.

Students created Voki’s for a variety of reasons.  They used them to introduce themselves, created a character description, and in the example provided below, show understanding of a particular skill or concept.  Check out these examples below:



Make sure you head over to iTeach 1:1 or Learning to the Core to link up!

And don’t forget that my Bloglovin’ giveaway will be running until July 1st.  Click here to link up!

Until the next time,



Must Have Monday – GradeCam……my new bestie!

I’m linking up with Teaching With a Touch of Twang for her Must Have Monday linky party. This will definitely be the first of many because I have many many “must haves”! 🙂


How many of you are living this life?  Students just finished a quiz/test.  You’re ready to scan the them, but have no idea where the scantron machine is or you don’t even need the scantron machine, because you only had 80 scantrons left and you have 110 students? Are you ready to pull your hair out?  I was! Until I found GradeCam!



GradeCam works similarly to the Scantron machine, except that instead of using an expensive machine, you can scan assignments in my classroom using a camera. We don’t have to purchase forms; we can print forms on plain paper from the app. It also gives you immediate feedback with an item analysis. Here is a video that highlights what GradeCam can do.

If you’re interested, click here to find out more information.

Until the next time,


Tried It Tuesday {June 18th}

Tried It Tuesday

I’m linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for my very first Tried It Tuesday!  Since we’ve been working in our Personalized Learning graduate course for the last two weeks, I have tried a lot!  We’ve been searching and adding apps for the past few days.  I’m going to highlight Facetalker and SockPuppets.

Facetalker – Facetalker allows you to grab a photo (camera roll, Facebook, or templates) and then manipulate the mouth.  Very funny – and a neat way for students to share information.  Here is a sample that I created.

SockPuppets – Sock Puppets lets you create your own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice.  You can upload the video to Facebook or YouTube.  There is a free version which gives you 30 sec.  The full version is $3.99.  I like this one so much, I will probably go ahead and buy it!

sock puppets


Before I close out, my blogging buddy Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching has reached 300 followers.  She has a MASSIVE giveaway going on and I’m giving away a free item from my TpT store.  Click on the giveaway picture to link up!

300 Follower Button - HOH


Until the next time,






Green Screen…..Activated!

If you remember, my principal gave me the go ahead at the end of last year to paint a portion of my wall green. At first, I thought that the district workers would do it…..but ummmmm….no, it didn’t work out that way.

At the beginning of the school year I did some research, bought the paint, and a wonderful co-worker painted my wall for me. And there is has been untouched…..all year…..until now!

Half-way painted wall

Half-way painted wall


My social studies partner had our students create music video based on content that they’d learned this school year.  Some of them did an AMAZING job!  I suggested that we switch classrooms so that she could use the green wall (I mean, somebody should get some use out of it, right?)  After she finished videoing the kids she asked me, “So what do we do now?”  Ummmm yeah, hadn’t thought that far yet…

Since we actually had something to work with, I did some researching.  We found a program that did pretty much we wanted (and did I mention we didn’t really know what we wanted anyway?), so my partner purchased it.  The first thing we realized was that the wall wasn’t big enough…. Here’s a pic of a FABULOUS group with the original shoot.




See the bookshelf in the video?  Ummmm yeah….not enough green…..

With the iTEL pilot, each of the teachers received a MacBook Pro along with the iPad.  Somewhere I’d heard that I could use iMovie to create videos with the green screen effect.  I searched….and I searched…..I looked at the help section again….and again….and again….and finally!  I found what I was looking for.  Here is the video that I created using iMovie.

See the bookcase? Ummmm yeah….not enough green….

The software we purchased will allow us to import photos, but as far as I know, iMovie will not. When I created this video, I found a video off YouTube, imported it in, and then reduced the sound. Then I remembered that an awesome teacher, Sean Avery (Check out his blog here), had given me information for video loops that he uses for his videos. Movietools offers various resources that will help with created polished videos.

So on the last day of school, I asked the kids to come up with a “Top 10″…in like two hours….and they did it! Check out my babies on this one!

Despite the fact that it took me aaaaaaalllllll year to get it together…..I have it together! Now all these plans are swirling in my head. I can’t wait!

Until the next time!


Now That’s What I Call Teamwork! and February Currently

Our sixth grade team of teachers is a real team!  We love our jobs – we love our children and we’d do just about anything to help them become successful.  We work together so well – I AM BLESSED!  I know that our situation is the exception – not the norm – and for that I am truly grateful.

A few months ago, I had a half day meeting at the district office.  Since it is so difficult to get substitutes to agree to come in for 1/2 day, we decided to split our 110 children into three groups.  So these groups were anywhere between 35 and 37 kids….in one classroom…..for 90 minutes!  But it worked! And we’ve realized (after having to do it once last week and twice this week) that we’ve got some really great kids  too!  Our new schedule took away only two changes for the students – but it really made a big deal with their “excitedability”. (Yes, I know that’s not a real word!)

Our SS partner was our sick for two days last week.  We thought it would be only for one day and I was planned for that because students were finishing up a quiz.  But day two…..kinda threw me for a loop.  I thought about it all night, Friday morning, well actually about 15 minutes before the kiddos got there….and Eureka! it came to me.  We were finishing up Euphemisms so I created a mini project for them….Euphemism posters.  Students used PowerPoint to create a poster on a one Euphemism.  See an example below:


I am especially proud of this kid for many reasons….:-)

But the #1 reason there is a smile on my face is because of this:  My last period class is a elective class to assist students with preparation for our standardized test.  But since I had mine and my partners, I allowed students who hadn’t finished their project to finish.  And I didn’t have to do a thing!  I printed out multiple copies of the directions and students who had finished their projects helped those who hadn’t.  I was so proud of these students!!  Plus we used DropItToMe for the first time….and it was NO headache at all…. 🙂


Check them out here!

Euphemism Poster Creation on PhotoPeach

And now for my February Currently!  Thanks to Farley at Oh’ Boy Fourth Grade for hosting this really neat monthly activity!


DD and I are visiting my parents today and they have no willpower!  It’s been NickJr. ever since we stepped into the house. Sigh…..SpongeBob SquarePants has never been a favorite of mine….

My blog has been selected for inclusion in the list of the Top 25 Middle School Teacher Blogs of 2012. If you’re interested, click on the link here.  It took me three years to even get the nerve up to start a personal blog….how excited am I that people are noticing my hard work.

I’ve talked about our 1:1 mobile device initiative in a previous post (I think?) but it’s now really becoming a reality.  My team submitted a group proposal so that all of our students would get the iPads and my principal is pretty sure we’ll be approved.  I also received an email complimenting me on our proposal and was even asked if I would be ok with my ideas being shared in our initiative.  And the final hurrah was being asked to be one of the first teachers for our graduate school class.  Now, it’s not as if I don’t have enough to do (my family thinks I do too much already), but this is a wonderful opportunity for me.  I received my administration degree in 2010 and have been debating what I really want my educational course to be.  Since being back in the classroom after budget cuts – I’m slowly coming to the realization that my niche is technology integration.  I’ve even been contemplating getting an Ed.D in Instructional Technology.  As always, I will put it into the hands of the Lord and allow him to direct my path.  He has never (and will never) steer me wrong!

I want to talk about my “needing”, but I get anxious just thinking about it!  I told my principal somebody better get me a prescription of Xanax.  I love teaching reading and I love to write – but I absolutely hate….strongly dislike teaching writing to sixth graders.  OMG….nuff said.

So anyway…I’m skipping down to my “Pet Peeves”….

#1 Lazy Kiddos – uggghhh….Middle School is hard……6th Grade is the hardest! Our kids go from having one teacher in 5th Grade to having SIX teachers in 6th Grade! Whew!  And many elementary schools are fond of social promotion.  I have at least one student every year who failed EVERY CLASS last year and was PROMOTED!!! What?????!!!!!  So when they get to us and they have to pass aaaallllll classes it is a great shock. You should see some of those sweet little faces at the end of the year – DISBELIEF!  It’s downright comical in a sad, sad, way….

#2 Tapping – More specifically tapping me on my arm/shoulder and repeatedly calling my name….Mrs. J….Mrs. J…..Mrs. J……..WHAT?  Oh, I absolutely despite it…..

#3 Complainers – We are so blessed at my school and school district. Promethean Boards, ActivExpressions devices, laptops and soon (cross your fingers) iPads! But sometimes (like every day) I hear a complaint about something. “These computers are too slow” (Bring your own from home – oh! you don’t have one), “My device isn’t working right” (Ok, get out your whiteboard then), “$.050 for a pencil??” (Tell yo’ mama to go to the store and buy you some), and on and on and on.  Just once I would love to hear “Mrs. J. we are so blessed!” Just once…..or maybe once a day…..

Alrighty now! If you’re going to link up remember to follow the rule of 3 – Comment on the two blog posts before yours and one after.  Who knows the connections you’ll make?


Later guys!

Book In A Day

This year, our Christmas break didn’t begin until 3:20 on Friday, December 21st. That’s right….as I imagine your slack-jawed expressions….we kept our kiddos aaaaaallllllll day on the Friday right before Christmas!

But, we came up with a wonderful idea that made that Friday a day to be proud of. Our sixth grade team decided to have do a “Book In A Day” activity. On this day, we listen to an entire book in one day, with students hearing different portions of the book in each class period. We divide the book into 30-35 listening sessions allowing time for a journal reflection at the beginning and team games using questions from the book at the end.

Dr. Ertzberger, Dean of Technology at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, created a website that has a plethora of games using Microsoft Office. The great thing about these games is that most of them don’t require any prep. You can use questions that you’ve just written down or typed up. Here is the link here: UNCW EdGames

We decided to do The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. If you’ve never heard of this story, here is a quote from Amazon:

“The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.”

This book is absolutely hilarious! Let me tell you there is a scene in the book, where one of the Herdmans brings their cat to school (which is kinda described as a demon wildcat), and he destroys the class – eats the goldfish and another student’s pet mice; as well as scratching everything and everyone in sight. Oh the imagery…….


At the end of the day, we watched the movie that was created based on the book (which I found on youtube by the way) and the students created a Venn Diagram comparing the movie to the book. They had a great time and we had a nice quiet last day of school.

But, more importantly, it gave us another look at the wonderful miracle of Jesus’ birth from the eyes of children who had never been exposed to The Christmas Story. So as I close out this post, I must quote Gladys Herdman, “Hey! Unto you a child is born!” I hope everyone continues to enjoy their winter break. We don’t have to report to school until January 7th so I know I will!

Happy New Year!


Bitstrips – Another Addiction!

I have a friend who is a Instructional Technology Specialist, who blogs over on Techni-color, that got me hooked to this awesome Web 2.0 tool, Bitstrips!

This site allows you to create your own toon and customize it to look like you or whomever you wish it to look like. You can then save those toons and create your own stories. There is also a paid version for teachers to have students create their own avatars, and its like a closed classroom community. There is a free 30 day trial so that you can get a feel for it, or sign up for the free Daily Funnies starring you….check it out!!

Here is a bitstrip that I created to review Point of View. What do you think?


My Very First “Monday Made It”!

As I’ve been perusing other blogs, I see all the creative things teachers are making….and I am so jealous! Unfortunately the best drawing I can do includes stick figures and asking me to create something with my hands…ummm, just doesn’t turn out the way I see it in my head. So I figured “Monday Made It” (which is sponsored by Fourth Grade Frolics)just wasn’t for me…until…..

Eureka! I’m a tech geek and I make plenty of things using various technology devices so why can’t I use those for my Monday Made Its? So here is a video I created to introduce myself to my students using Animoto.

And now that I’ve found my niche’ there will be more to come….:-)