Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ISTE Preview

I'm working on finalizing my ISTE presentation and just thought I would do a quick blog for those that may not be able to attend ISTE. Here is just a few of the tools I will be discussing in my BYOD session. 

Five tools to share with those that may not be able to attend ISTE:

Tech tool for teachers: Remind-This is a great tool for teachers to use to stay in contact with parents. Often times we only call when behavior problems arise, but with this tool teachers can contact parents for the positive things as well! It is also beneficial to special education teachers to remind parents about meetings and returning much needed paperwork. 

Tech tool for to help students with behavior issues: Class Dojo-This app allows teachers to keep track of positive and negative occurrences for students. It is customizable and the data can be shared with parents or other teachers. It is beneficial to special education teachers because this way the general education teachers can record data for a specific behavior and easily report back the level of mastery. 

Tech Tool for Reading: Word Wizard-This app allows for students to practice building words with letter tiles. The app allows for teachers to enter in their own word lists for students to practice. The tiles are color coded with vowels and consonants and match what students are used to from center activities. This app gives hands on practice for students of various exceptionalities and allows for them to use all of their senses. As students build the words, the sounds are blended together with the app. 

Tech Tool for Math: Math Playground-This website offers practice with word problems, how to videos, and a section with Common Core links. Teachers can use the website at first in guided practice or for independent when students are ready.  

Tech Tool for Fine Motor: Letter School-This app allows for not only fine motor practice of each letter, but provides guided instruction and independent practice for writing each of the letters. The app also incorporates the phoneme for each letter allowing for the students to hear it while they practice writing the letter. 

Keep a watch on my Live Binder(link on the blog) and my Twitter feed. I will post the entire presentation on there after ISTE is completed(may even be before so just keep watching!). 

Keep learning!
@mnmann (Twitter handle) 

Top Ten Part 4

Part four and the final post for the series ;-) Here are my last four Go-To Tech Tools that I use on a regular basis. These last four are more for organizational and professional use.

Tech Tool #7  Wunderlist
This site/app allows you to manage all of your to-do lists. No more multiple lists on multiple sticky notes. Now you can put your lists all in one place and have access on your phone, iPad, and computer. 

Tech Tool #8 Greenshot
Greenshot is the tool I use to take the screen shots you see in the blog posts. It is free and very easy to use. 

Tech Tool #9 Google Drive
Google Drive has become a lifesaver now that I have finally learned how to use it with all of my devices. It saves me so much time and is less stress. I'll be doing a more in depth post about how I use it later on hopefully before school starts back. If you have any questions before then though just email me or leave a comment! 

Tech Tool #10: Dropbox
This final tech tool is one of my favorites. I don't know what I would have done over the last couple of years without this tool. It has basically replaced my need to remember a flash drive. It also is handy when taking pictures on a device because my Camera Uploads sync with my Dropbox. 

Thanks for letting me share my favorite Top 10 Tech Tools. Let me know if you have any questions! 
Keep making a difference and just be YOU!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Top Ten Part 3

My Go to #5 and #6 involve developing a PLN. If you had asked me last year what a PLN was I am not sure I would have been able to tell you. Fast forward a year and I not only know what a PLN is, but I learn something new from them daily(and most I have never met face to face). By the way...PLN is Professional Learning Network. I am on both of these sites daily! If you have any questions about either, leave me a comment or send me an email.

Tech Tool #5: Simple K-12
Oh where would I be without my blue bunny family. Simple K-12 offers webinars, resources, and a way of connecting with educators across the country! This was a valuable resource for me as Alabama started to implement the Common Core standards. It was beneficial to go and view some of the webinars from states that were already implementing the standards and to learn from what worked(and what didn't). Webinars and resources are shared for a range of topics! Sign up for a free account and have access to special days of learning. Sign up for a full account and have access to webinars on demand and all live webinars. 

Tech Tool #6: Twitter
Twitter has opened my world to a network of educators that I would never be connected with face to face. It allows me the opportunity to learn from others in a non traditional setting. Last summer I was still a Twitter newbie. I can now moderate a chat, and regularly participate in a couple of different chats. I am growing to love Twitter more and more each day. Connecting with my PLN via Twitter has lit a fire for me professionally on more than one occasion. 

Happy learning!

Twitter handle: @mnmann

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top 10 Part 2

This post will have tools 3-4. If you follow me on Pinterest, I am slowly getting the boards organizing and adding more specific ones. So make sure and check out the new boards ;-)

Go to Tech Tool #3: Evernote.....I am really not sure who told me about Evernote first, but I do not know how I ever lived without this tool. Evernote is my go to app for note taking, list making, and basically my place if I want to remember something. I have it installed on my computer, on my phone, and my iPad. I only use the free version and pay attention to how much I can upload at certain times. I may one day upgrade, but for now free works. Last year I used Evernote with documentation in the classroom and portfolio type things. I hope to do even more of that this year(I am attending a session on this at ISTE ;-)). Evernote notebooks can be shared between people and it also syncs up with tool #4 which we will talk about it in a minute. I have really found it beneficial when at a workshop and I don't want to write down the slide the presenter is showing. I just take a quick picture with my camera and upload it to Evernote and take my notes there. Evernote also works with your email account(No more having to print out confirmations).

Link to Evernote site: Evernote

Tech Tool #4: Skitch....Skitch syncs up with your Evernote account. As a special education teacher, I found Skitch to be beneficial when making picture schedules and rule posters for various students. The student could take a picture with the iPad and then annotate on top of the picture what the rule or time of the day was. These pictures are also saved in an Evernote notebook, so inserting them in a document or printing is simple. Worksheets can also be completed via Skitch and emailed or saved to the camera roll. Below is a screen shot of a an example of a what could be completed using Skitch. 

Any questions feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter. Part 3 will be this weekend and I will finish up with the last two posts in this series next week. Then I will share my two favorite new tools I learned about at AETC and then it is off to ISTE. Thanks for reading and following ;-) I'm making progress at this and trying to improve with each post. 

Keep making a difference in all you do and say! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten List part 1

So I started out with thinking I only had a top five of go-to resources to share. I was wrong...the list quickly made it up to 10. So here is part 1 of my Top "Go-To" Tech Treasures. I will share two a day. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. I will share a screen shot of the tool and how I use it on a regular basis(most daily).

Tool #1 Live Binder
I heard about this tool a couple of years ago and started using it regularly over the last month. It is basically an online way of organizing a "binder" of information. This is how I display my presentations for others to view later and provide links to important resources(Symbaloo's etc.). I also use it to share resources with others in our system(handouts from meetings etc.). It is very user friendly. Possible classroom uses: Student Portfolios, Teacher Handbooks, Important Papers(one link for parents to access everything(newsletters, calendars etc.)

Here is a link for a couple of tutorials: Live Binder Tutorials
Here is the link to the main site: http://www.livebinders.com/welcome/home
Here is a screen shot of what a live binder looks like:

Tech Tool #2 Symbaloo 
Again I heard about Symbaloo a couple of years ago, but finally started putting it to regular use a year ago. (If you haven't caught on yet, once I figure out where I can use the tool, I use it regularly...it's just putting into practice what I hear about that takes time).  Symbaloo is a great organization tool for all of your bookmarks. I have started making some for the webinars and presentations I conduct(no more having to thumb through a PowerPoint for a link). Teachers could use it in their classrooms to share websites with parents or in the lower grades to create an easy home page of favorites. 

Symbaloo Link: Symbaloo
Here is a screen shot of what a Symbaloo looks like(There is a tab on my LiveBinder of several of the Symbaloo's I have created). 

Thanks for reading today! I leave you with a quote from Teach Like a Pirate " Teaching is a job filled with frustrations, trials, and tests of your patience. Use your passion to soar over obstacles instead of crashing into them and burning out."  If you have not read this book I highly recommend it! Follow me on Twitter (@mnmann). I'll be back tomorrow with a post on my favorite "go-to" tech tools #3 and #4. 

Be Passionate about what you do and remember You matter! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Webinar recap

Today's webinar with Simple K-12 was on Elementary Apps for Common Core Reading and Math. If you are a member, check it out and let me know what you think. If you are not a member, sign up and participate in the free days of learning(there is one coming up this week!). Technology problems happen to everyone even those of us who may consider ourselves techie. Apparently my computer decided to run an update after I had logged on to go to webinar. At that point, it would not let me log into ANYTHING else. So I could do the webinar, but not the back channel discussion or share any website resources. Not fun....I like things to go a certain way, but at some point you have to learn to roll with it and discover Plan B. Techie problems happen to us all....I'm sure that made someone feel better ;-)

Here are two apps(both available on android and IOS devices) I shared in my presentation along with a few of my favorite common core websites:

Tellagami is quickly becoming one of my new favorite apps. It is available in the App store as well as the Google Play Store(and it is free). I used it this past school year in my iPad club with K-2 students. They did amazing without any instruction.  Our students can figure more out then we ever realized if we will just let them play. I loved how they quickly started sharing with others when they discovered another thing it could do. Lesson learned: Let the students play with an app and investigate, they will learn it and be able to apply what they know afterwards. Tellagami can be used in a variety of ways depending on the age of students. The Speaking and Listening strand of the English Language Arts CCSS(Common Core State Standards). As I said possibilities are endless(book reports, presentations on informational text, math explanation videos..)

My students LOVE Math Blaster. The addition portion is free, but it costs for the other "chapters". Depending on what age you teach, you may want to just pay the $3.99 for the other seven groups. Math Blaster is interactive Math Fluency practice that the students love because they feel like they are playing a game. Math Fluency is addressed in some of the lower grades for the CCSS, but it is important in the upper grades as well. Students have to be able to know how to solve the problem and apply what they have learned. The computation portion becomes the foundation for the application skill. 

These are my favorite websites that allow you to search for activities based on the standard:

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Pinterest and remember to check out my Live Binder. I will be posting links to presentations as they are loaded. (I'll also send out a tweet when I update). Tomorrow I will start with sharing my top five "go to" tech tools that I use on almost a daily basis. 

Happy Learning,

Monday's Musings

Surely I'm not the only techie person who has tech issues, but I really wish mine wouldn't misbehave on webinar days. ISTE is next week and to say I am excited is an understatement. I'm also very, very nervous. This will be my first time attending ISTE and I'm also presenting a BYOD session on Sunday. AETC was a lot of fun and truly inspirational. I love connecting with teachers and expanding my PLN. I realized during my session that there are some of the tools that I consider my "go-to" tech tools that some teachers are not familiar with yet. I will be sharing more about those as we lead up to ISTE. I will also be mentioning a few new tools that I am excited about implementing during this coming school year. This post is short, because I have a webinar in 30 minutes with my friends at Simple K-12. The webinar is on Common Core Apps for Reading and Math. Later on tonight, I will share two apps that are available on Android and IOS devices that can help teachers implement standards. If you are a member of Simple K-12, join me this afternoon at 2:00 Central/3:00 Eastern. Stay tuned to the blog...lots more to share and that's before ISTE. I'm reading Teach Like a Pirate right now, so look for quotes from that as well.

Thank you all for your support on the blog and I hope to finally turn this into a resource for teachers. I just finished my 8th year of teaching. This past year I felt like I learned something new every day(some days more than I could handle). I also feel like I finally have a "teaching philosophy" that I can put into words. I've been reflecting on that the last couple of weeks and looking at why I do what I do. So I may share that in another post as well. If you ever come to a session that I present or a webinar, my goal/outcome is simple. I want you to be able to leave with something you can take back to your classroom and know how you are going to use. Too many times we sit through sessions and learn about a lot of new tools(apps and sites etc.), but it's the application of those tools that enhances learning.

Thanks for reading today! I'll be back later tonight with a recap of the webinar and tomorrow with the first of my top five "go to" tech tools.

In the meantime, my AETC presentation is loaded on my livebinder under the Special Education tab and the links are under the Symbaloo tab. Check it out ;-) Leave a comment or connect with me if you have any questions.

Thank you for making a difference each and every day,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Conference Season Starts tomorrow

I'm bound for my first conference tomorrow. I have four total this summer along with three more webinars before school starts back July 30th. I hope you will keep a watch on the blog, because yes I am posting more resources! LiveBinder has been updated with some symbaloo links from a couple of webinars I have presented lately for Simple K-12. I have also already uploaded handouts for this week's presentation. I'll post exact links to that when I get home. (Wouldn't want to spoil anything just yet...). Updates are coming to Pinterest as well. I'm in the process of doing even more organization. (It's sad when I can't find what I need on my own board).

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL summer!