Tuesday, June 23, 2015

FIVE Simple (& some free) Ways to make an iPhone Loud Enough for a Classroom!

I don't know about you, but my students LOVE when I use technology in the classroom. Just listening to music on my iPhone is a wonderful motivator, reward, and even a stress relief to many students. I have a very old CD player in my classroom, but honestly who even has CDs anymore? The radio doesn't work because the antenna is broken off, but yet I keep the boom box on my back table for a reason, which you can read about below.

Why would the classroom need to listen to my iPhone? Some of my favorite apps are audio apps like audible (for listening to chapter books read aloud), Pandora (for relaxation or holiday themed music), Scholastic (for articles read aloud, while we follow along with our magazines), any websites that read stories out loud, and even local news stations that have videos of current events that I want my students to listen to, but not necessarily see. 

#1. Have you ever heard of a Male Stereo Audio Cable? It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. It is a cable with a plug on both ends. One plug can go in the iPhone and the other in the CD player. When it is plugged in, the sound from the iPhone will come out of the CD player speakers and be loud enough for the whole classroom to enjoy. These cables are pretty cheap too! I've seen them for sale everywhere from CVS to Amazon!

#2.  I have no idea what this amazing speaker is called, I got it at a career fair and it is AMAZING. The only reason why I can't take it to school with me is because my husband snatched it for the PE office at his school. This portable speaker takes three AA batteries. All you do is press the on button and place your phone on top. The sound from this speaker is probably just as good as a iHome! If anyone knows what this is called, please let me know! It would be perfect for a listening station because there is nothing to fool around with and only one button. Students would get a kick out of being able to use it on their own!

#3. My favorite way because it is free! Grab a cup or even a bowl and place your iPhone inside. You will not believe the sound that will come out when you turn up the volume! I showed this to my mom and she was shocked! We used this technique while camping with a plastic solo cup and it still worked amazingly!

#4. iHome! I absolutely love my charging station/iHome. This year I am going to bring it to school with me because my phone tends to run out of power quickly, when I use it a lot. The speaker is SO loud and convenient and as a bonus, there is a digital clock on the front.

#5.  Here is another easy and free way to boost the volume on your iPhone. Have you tried this simple trick? I was skeptical at first, but all I did is cut a horizontal slit in a toilet paper roll and slid my iPhone inside. The music came pouring out. I KNOW it would work even better in a paper towel roll, so next time you empty some paper towels, save the roll. 

Need another reason to try out using your iPhone in class? Download the FREE QRCode Reader App and check out my most popular freebie in my TpT store! Print these beautiful task cards out and laminate them for easy access to any of the websites! If you already downloaded them, download them again for all the updates! I added 12 new websites that my class loved this year!

Since I'm always learning and looking for new ideas, I'd love to know how you use your iPone/iPod in the classroom?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream...what TPT can do for me!

I am continuing with the TpT seller challenge this week. The challenge is titled "Dare to Dream" and I will say that we are very blessed to have discovered TpT! Robyn and I love creating our own materials in the classroom and being a member of TpT has inspired us to always think outside of the box. Not only has TpT helped us in our personal lives, but it has taken our teaching to a whole new level.

So in no particular order, because let's face it, paying off debt is a must, but so boring... here are my dreams. 

My husband and I purchased our first house, just a starter house, eight years ago. It was built in 1890, and is a cute little Victorian. Cute being the optimal word! So, we still live here, and have two kids. We are ready for an upgrade, with a big yard, so we can get chickens and a dog. Before we can think of selling, we need to update the house. This summer I am planning on getting a new floor put in on the lower level and possibly redoing the kitchen cabinets. 

When we sell this house, we will look for our forever home and hopefully be a little closer to school. We are currently commuting 40 minutes each way. Luckily, my husband teaches in the same district and we are allowed to enroll our children in the district we teach in. So everyday, the four of us journey 26 miles to school and 26 miles home. We spend a LOT of time in the car. 

I would REALLY like to go on a spring break with the family. Even a trip to Florida for a week would be FABULOUS. By April, we need a break from snow, and I'd love to be able to look forward to Disney, halfway through the school year! 

Before I can go on a vacation with the family, I need to pay off my credit card. I am working hard this summer doing curriculum work and teaching summer school, so I can start off the year without credit card debt. Let's see how that goes! :) 

So that's what I am working towards. Now that I have these dreams written down, they seem a little more attainable! 

Thanks so much to Third in Hollywood and friends for this great challenge!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Makeover Madness #TPTSellerChallenege

Good Morning, I am happy to be linking up with lots of friends, including The Peppy Zesty Teacherista for the first #TPTSellerChallenge: Makeover Madness! Well if you follow my TPT store, Facebook, or Instagram, you have seen I've been redoing a ton of products lately. If you don't follow me there, what are you waiting for!? Go click on those link and follow.

So anyways, I was scrolling through our store and came across a huge embarrassment! One of my favorite products, with a HORRIBLE cover.  I mean seriously...this cover didn't even begin to describe the awesomeness of the product. 

With a little creativity and time I changed it up...completely. 

Much better now, right? I don't know what was up with the previous cover, but I feel a whole lot better with the new one. I'd love to give a few away to my readers this week, so if you are reading this, leave a comment with your email and you might just be lucky enough to receive this in your inbox! 

Not sure if you could use it, or did you miss the giveaway? Check out the product listing by clicking here, or on the picture below! 


4 more days of school for me! :) Wohooo

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nonfiction Biography/Revolutionary Project Results + FREEBIE included!

I had to share some of our adorable Informational Revolutionary projects with all of you. They are just the cutest, but don't take my word for it...check them out below! The pictures are very self explanatory. As you can see there are examples of Jackie Robinson, Ruby Bridges, Clara Barton, and Susan B. Anthony. 

Some students worked alone, while others chose to work in partnerships. Students spent time developing research questions, researching information, taking notes, planning, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing an informative essay on a revolutionary of choice. They then were allowed to use all of their creative juices to create a "Face in the Hole" poster display. The essay is glued  onto each display, in order, so projects can be presented on Monday. Students are now an expert on their revolutionary of choice, and will teach the class facts about his/her revolutionary as well as why the person they studied is considered a revolutionary.

Want to try something like this out with your class? Robyn and I put everything together into a step by step packet. Students were able to complete the whole project independently (or with a partner) with minimal adult support. This is always our goal for an end of year activity, so we were pretty excited! Grab the packet here for free! Just leave me a comment or tag me in an Instagram post to let me know how it went. I'd love to see your projects or ideas! :)

This project will not only wrap up our revolutionary unit, but also our school year. SIX MORE DAYS. I think I can, I think I can... 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Revolutionary Reports: Successfully Blending SS into ELA!

I am so excited to give you a sneak peek into our classroom this week. Although we only have 11 days left of school, we are super busy researching, writing, and creating revolutionary projects. I got this adorable idea from Deb Hanson's Instagram, but we changed it up to fit into our curriculum! The students chose a revolutionary to research, took notes, made a plan, and wrote an informative essay. They then cut out the essay, glued it onto special paper, cut a hole in the paper, and decorated! The students are so excited to be creative in class and are highly motivated. I will share more with you as soon as the students finish up, but this is what is going on so far! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Showing Understanding through Narrative Comic Strips!

Just fifteen more days and we can call it a wrap on the 2014-2015 school year. Bring on summer vacation... I mean summer school! We've been busy finishing up our current units in fourth grade. In Science, we are learning about the water cycle. I absolutely LOVE teaching my students factual information that they have never learned before, I LOVE blowing their minds with crazy information that they don't even believe is true (until they research it on their own), and I love positive parent emails that tell me how excited their child is about our current topic in class. Believe it or not,  I never thought the water cycle could be so exciting!

Since it is the end of the year, my students are taking on more of the learning on their own. To teach the water cycle, we completed a technological jigsaw.  I created a Google Doc of links for starting points, put together groups of students, and had students research and explore different stages of the cycle, while taking notes. We then came back together and each group had to teach the class about the cycle. The students LOVED it and the information really sunk in. Since each group took notes from the other presentations, we watched a short clip to check our facts.

I found this one on Youtube, which was awesome.

As soon as the clip started, my students started to freak out and the room filled with most of them yelling "Whhhhhhat!????" in disbelief. 

I taught them how to put their hands on their heads and then puff their hands up into the air, to go with the expression that their mind was blown with this new information. Of course, this was silly, but fun.
They were all excited to go "blow their parents' minds with this information at home". 

The next day students were allowed to use their notes to write a comic strip from the perspective of a raindrop traveling through the water cycle. It took some planning and a few drafts, but the students had a blast with this activity. 

Here are a few examples. 

I was so excited with how these came out. I actually want to keep them and make a booklet for next year's class to look through. The students did an excellent job of incorporating academic vocabulary into their comic strip. Their goal was to use at least six new vocabulary words and fill up all eight boxes. 

I've scanned all of the projects and tomorrow each student will present their slide in a slide show on the Smart Board.

Next up...owl pellet dissection! Yuck! ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tips and Prizes for a Stress FREE Spring! (Aromatherapy)

Hi Friends,

I was lucky enough to team up with some amazing bloggers to share our stress free secrets to survive the spring, testing season, end of the year! Believe it or not, there are actually FOUR huge winners! Personally, I would be THRILLED to win any one of these fabulous prizes!

1 $75 Amazon gift card
1 $40 Target gift card
1 $25 TpT gift certificate
1 $20 Starbucks gift card

Robyn and I both agree that our favorite way of distressing is through aroma therapy. There is something about breathing in a peaceful scent that makes my whole day feel better. In the past, I've tried a TON of different air fresheners in the classroom. They always start off too strong and dwindle down to nothing after a few days. We finally found something that works.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub! Our classrooms are equipped with sinks and water fountains. Normally I purchase fun soaps to promote hand washing in the classroom.  This year, I had some left over sugar scrub from our Christmas present batch, and showed my students how to use it appropriately on their hands after washing. Before long, not only was I smelling the clean and uplifting scent of peppermint throughout the room, but the students were absolutely LOVING the smell and feel of their soft hands.

Did you know peppermint oil is a natural stimulant that can increase your ability to concentrate during times of mental fatigue or stress? Inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil can help alleviate jet lag and boost your energy levels. Studies at the Sense of Smell Institute confirm that peppermint oil has mood-elevating properties that make it useful for alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can help to boost your mood and relieve feelings of sadness as well as enhance mental performance and feelings of happiness. Due to these effects, you can use peppermint oil to ease stress, exhaustion and irritability.

My class loved this SO much, as soon as I ran out, they were asking for more. They were lucky because I just made 64 more jars for my sister-in-law's baby shower next week and I know I will have some extras. I've shared the recipe with the students and parents and some of them even made their own. It couldn't be easier to make and honestly, it is the easiest way to de-stress while at work! 

I cannot take credit for this wonderful concoction, Amy, at The Idea Room, one of my favorite blogs, first got me started on scrubs and I haven't looked back since! Check out her blog and the recipe, here!

I hope you are able to make it through testing season and the end of the school year a little less stressed with some aroma therapy. If you haven't tried it, you need to! I buy all the materials on Amazon to make my scrubs, and if you win this amazing giveaway, you can purchase it all with your new gift card! ;) Be sure to check out the other stress-free ideas in the link up below.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway