Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Make a Flake

Here's a fun activity to celebrate the Winter Solstice~

caution - once you cut one flake - you will want to keep making more!!

Five Quick Classroom Management Tips

Quick read article from Edutopia ~ Five Quick Classroom Management Tips

I work with a lot of teachers and I have seen these strategies used successfully and seen the problems that ensue when classroom management isn't under control.

#1) Use a normal, natural voice

#2) Speak only when students are quiet and ready

#3) Use hand signals and other non-verbal communication

#4) Address behavior issues quickly and wisely

#5) Always have a well-designed, engaging lesson

Team Maker

Team-Maker is a simple and handy random team generator that lets you create teams quickly and easily. 


Cut and paste a list of names into the online box.
Choose the team names to generate, or add your own.
Nine random groupings are available to choose from.
Decide the number of team groups you want.
View the results  immediately on screen, or in a new tab.
Export the list into an Excel (CSV) file for additional uses.
Works extremely fast.

Event Scheduling online

Here are two handy online tools to make scheduling events easy! 

Sign Up Genius

To Schedule Parent Conferences

Doodle is an online tool that scheduling meetings and other appointments. It's simple, quick, free, requires no registration and is a great way to manage your parent conferences. Attached are direction for teachers to create their own Doodle schedule (survey) and a set of directions to send to parents (how to) so they can schedule their own appointments.

Teachers Pay Teachers

TeachersPayTeachers is the world's first open marketplace
where teachers buy and sell original teaching materials.

Here's an interesting site where you can find teaching materials. Some are for sale, but many are available for FREE.

You can browse the lessons by Grade Level, Subject, Lesson type, or Price.

and if you want to make some money of your own - you can try selling some of your own lesson plans :-)
 Kindergarten Teacher earns $700,000 by Selling Lesson Plans Online

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bedtime Math

It's called Bedtime Math, but don't let that dissuade you. There is a new math problem posted every day and each scenario has three levels of difficulty for the problem! I have thought of a few ways that you could use it ~

* use the problems in your classroom every day for some quick and easy mental math work
* do the problem in your classroom, then post it to your classroom web page and have your students challenge their family to do it at home together
* share the link with your families in your back to school letter or and back to school night to let them know that it's important to do math at home every day, in addition to daily reading time
* have your students create daily math challenges for your classroom or for your 'buddy class' of you have one

from the web page ~"Bedtime Math isn't an official “curriculum.”  It’s just a fun chance for kids to do math in their heads, so someday when they’re shopping and everything’s 20% off, they can figure out the sale price before the store closes."

Watch Know Learn

Do you have visual/auditory learners in your classroom?

Free educational videos delivered over the Internet. Viewed any time, from anywhere.

"The Vision behind WatchKnowLearn is simple:

We believe that everyone should have the same opportunity to learn. The best way to make this possible, we believe, is to organize into one, super directory the hundreds of thousands of good videos currently available on the Internet. To make this a reality, we invite teachers, instructors and educators to suggest videos for inclusion into our directory, and then to review, approve, and assign those videos into appropriate categories using a wiki framework and philosophy. The videos are the highest quality found on the World Wide Web, cover all major educational topics from elementary to secondary schools (or age range 1 – 18), and are Kid Safe!

WatchKnowLearn has indexed over 33,000+ educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 3,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom and to students at home 24/7. Users can dive into our innovative directory or search for videos by subject and age level. Video titles, descriptions, age level information, and ratings are all edited for usefulness. Our Web site invites broad participation in a new kind of wiki system, guided by teachers. We have had a tremendously positive response from educators to the website. If we continue to work together, we can create an incredible, free, educational resource for students across the world."


KidRex is a fun and safe search for kids, by kids! KidRex searches emphasize kid-related webpages from across the entire web and are powered by Google Custom Search™ and use Google SafeSearch™ technology.

Google's SafeSearch™ screens for sites that contain explicit sexual content and deletes them from your child’s search results. Google's filter uses advanced technology to check keywords, phrases, and URLs. No filter is 100 percent accurate, but SafeSearch™ should eliminate most inappropriate material.

Xtra Math

XtraMath is a Seattle-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to math achievement for all. Our goal is to develop effective, efficient, adaptive and intrinsically rewarding supplemental math activities and make them available for free. 

By default kindergarten and first grade students get addition only. Second graders also get subtraction. Third graders also get multiplication. Fourth graders and above get division, too.



A very warm welcome from the team at SparkleBox.  Back in February 2006 SparkleBox was launched as a means of sharing useful downloadable resources with teachers around the world.
Since then the site has grown from a handful of products to many thousands, but the fundamental aim of sharing resources remains.  Every resource on the site is FREE to download - no payment required.

We hope you enjoy looking around and find some useful products.

Draw a Stickman

Okay so this may not have much 'educational value' but it's fun!

Word It Out

Make word clouds. What's a word cloud?
An attractive arrangement of randomly positioned words, where the most important words are bigger than the others.

Similar to Wordle, with slightly different editing choices.

Do Nothing

Can you stop, relax, and do nothing for 2 minutes?  Turn on your speakers, take a breath, and give it a try ~ Do Nothing

Make Custom iPhone Ringtones

How to Make Custom iPhone Ringtones for Free 

1. Open iTunes. 
2. Find the song that you want to make into a ringtone. 
3. Listen to the song and find the part of it you want to use. The chorus may be a good place to start. 
4. Write down the start and stop times of the clip. 
5. Right-click the song and select "Get Info." 
6. Click the "Options" tab. 
7. Type in the start time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Start Time" in the minutes:seconds (i.e., 2:01) format. 
8. Type in the end time of your ringtone in the text box next to "Stop Time." Make sure the ringtone is no more than 40 seconds long. 
9. Click "OK." 
10. Right-click your song again and select "Convert Selection to AAC." Wait for iTunes to convert your song. It will create a duplicate version. 
11. Right-click the ringtone and select "Delete." 
12. Click on the "Keep Files" button. 
13. Find the file. It's usually in your User folder under "Music > iTunes > iTunes Music" and under the band's name. It will have an extension of m4a. 
14.Replace the m4a extension of your ringtone with m4r. You can either double-click slowly to rename your file, or right-click and select "Get Info" on a Mac or "Rename" on a Windows PC. 
15. Click "Use .m4r" or the PC equivalent when the system warns you that the change may affect the use of your file. 
16. Double-click the ringtone file. ITunes will automatically add it to your ringtones folder in your iTunes Music Library. 
17.  Connect your iPhone and sync your ringtones. 

International Space Station

This is the International  Space Station (ISS) Assembly diagram, piece by  piece. Look  at what happened in space from 1998 until 2008.  In  just ten years the International Space Station has grown and  grown.

Click on the link below and watch the pieces come together as they are sent up from Earth. You can also click on each name to the right of the picture for more info.

Did you know that the Space Station  had grown to this  size?

Password Tips

Please protect your passwords for any personal accounts that you access .

* DO NOT keep any password on a post-it note that is stuck on your monitor. Don't 'hide' them under your keyboard.

* DO NOT keep a printed list of your accounts and passwords on your desk or any other obvious location where it can be seen by others. If you have a printed list make sure your keep it hidden in a safe place.

* DO NOT use the default password assigned to you.

* DO NOT have web sites 'remember' your username and password on any school computer.

* LOG OFF from any web site before walking away from your computer.

* DO NOT share your passwords. If someone absolutely must have access to your account, change the password before you grant them access, then change it again after their access is no longer required.

* DO NOT use any of these passwords ~
 10. "Baseball"
9. "111111"
8. "dragon"
7. "letmein"
6. "monkey"
5. "qwerty"
4. "abc123"
3. "12345678"
2. "123456"
And at #1 is "Password".

Read more:

Curious about the strength of your password? Check it here: Password Checker

* Never reply to an email that asks you for your password. Most especially, never, ever follow a link in an email pointing to a site which requires a login. Period. No exceptions. These email are called phishing scams and are extremely common. If you really feel there's a chance the email might be legitimate, go to the website via the traditional means - either by using a previously saved bookmark or by typing in the site address you normally use to visit the site. Do not type in the link provided in the email.

Vocabulary & Spelling City

Some teachers have already discovered Vocabulary & Spelling City - and their classes are enjoying using it to practice their spelling words.

from their web site: is a free spelling website that makes teaching spelling exciting. SpellingCity provides students a simple online way to take a practice spelling test. But that is only the beginning.

With SpellingCity's online spelling games, simplicity of creating and saving lists, activities that teach word meaning and writing skills, and ease and fun of use, your students will learn their weekly spelling words with unprecedented enthusiasm. Want to see how it works? Watch our  teacher training videos!


Have you ever been frustrated because you want to use a different font but you only have a list of font names in the application? Wikipedia has a page for you: List of Typefaces on Mac OSX.


"Thinkfinity is the Verizon Foundation’s free online professional learning community, providing access to over 60,000 educators and experts in curriculum enhancement, along with thousands of award-winning digital resources for K-12 — aligned to state standards and the common core.

Here, educators connect and collaborate through themed groups, blogs and discussions, sharing resources and best practices that support 21st century teaching and learning."