Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Georgia Center for Classroom Innovation and My New Love for a Chair

Today the City Schools of Decatur Media/Tech Specialists visited the Georgia Center for Classroom Innovation at the Department of Education Towers in Atlanta.
Along with the excellent examples of technology and physical space arrangement, we saw incredible progressive furniture and instructional space concepts.
Check out the CCI website and see how to sign up for a tour for yourself or your group (appointments required).

AND... I have a new love in my life.  Named Steelcase Node.

I have officially fallen in love with the Steelcase Node desk and chair combo.  Trust me, it is much more comfortable than it looks, and it is easy to get in and out of.  And yes, it even comes with a cup holder.  I really might order one for my daughter to use for homework at home.

The circular base holds lots of supplies and gear, and the writing tray swivels and moves forward and backward.  Love this chair- Check out the site here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

GPB's Passion for Learning Blog Spotlights Decatur's 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue

Full Disclosure- this article is about my own school's technology and media program for grades 4-5, which, of course, I think is super fantastic.  It gives a nice insight into a day in my professional life. 

I was shadowed for a day by Rosemary Jean-Louis, the Passion for Learning blogger extraordinaire at Georgia Public Broadcasting.  She's full of insight and ideas about education in Georgia- you should check out her posts and subscribe to her blog feed.  I hope you can take an idea from this post and use it in your school.  Our program is highly fluid and each day brings a change or modification based on student and teacher needs and requests.

Our exceptional district-wide Directors (Instructional Media and Communications, Heather Borowski / Technology, Mary Farmer) truly make Decatur City a great place to work by providing progressive technological opportunities to all of our schools.  The 4/5 Academy is an example of a huge team effort paying great dividends for our students.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions! 
Technology in Action at the 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue

Online Art Games and Sites for Kids!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Children's Book Artwork Auction includes Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are'...

Want to own a piece of children's book history?

Date: January 24, 2013
Time: at 1:30 PM
Exhibition: Fri., January 18, 10-6
Sat., January 19, 12-5
Tues., January 22, 10-6
Wed., January 23, 10-6
Thurs., January 24, 10-noon
Contact Person: George S. Lowry

Coinciding with Bibliography Week in New York, this sale includes an extensive selection of original 20th-century illustration art and books. There are illustrations by Charles Addams, Ludwig Bemelmans, Al Hirschfeld, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss and others.

The book section contains a private collection of works witten and/or illustrated by Maurice Sendak from the library of the late Reed Orenstein, bookseller and longtime Sendak collector. Included are most of his important works in first edition, many signed, and several with small sketches and inscriptions.

Highlights include:

A rare first edition of Sendak's first book, Where the Wild Things Are, signed and inscribed with a drawing, New York, 1963. Shown top left.

A group of eight pencil sketches made by Maurice Sendak in preparation for the CBS animated TV specialist Maurice Sendak's Really Rosie, circa 1975.

A drawing by Beatrix Potter, titled The Cats' Meat Man, circa 1895.

An early Peanuts comic strip, completed by Charles Schulz in ink and pencil, dated March 1, 1953, features Charlie Brown and Patty listening to some old records.

The original ink drawing done by Garth Williams for the dust jacket cover for Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, circa 1953.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Peter H. Reynolds Poster- Celebrate Digital Learning Day Feb. 7, 2013

Digital Learning Day (February 6, 2013), is a national celebration of teachers that shines a spotlight on successful instructional technology practice in the classroom. Spread the word at your school by downloading this inspiring poster by Peter H. Reynolds!

Visit the Digital Learning Day site for more information!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Griffin RESA's Technology Conference 2013

I'm excited that my presentation proposal was accepted for the Griffin RESA's Drive-In Technology Conference 2013.
I'll present "Create a Curriculum Rich Classroom Blog in 60 Minutes".
We will use Google's Blogger platform, and handouts to all sessions will be posted on the Griffin RESA website. Registration information can be found here:

My ABBA Resolution

Have a fitness goal for the new year? 
Let's talk about my newest time killer that is actually good for me: ABBA DANCE for my Wii.

My family wishes it (or I) would stop, but I am not stopping until I get a perfect score on every single dance.  You really need to make sure your wrist strap is secured to your Wii Remote before you start dancing... trust me.

Indoor recess could be tons of fun if your classroom had a Wii and a few of these games:
Just Dance
Walk it Out
Family Game Night
Wii Play
Mario Kart
World of Zoo
Big Brain Academy
Think Fast
Smarty Pants
Jump Start- misc.
Reader Rabbit- misc.

As my family will tell you- just watching someone ABBA dance is completely fun.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Limit an IOS 6 Device to Running only ONE app! Guided Access for iPad

With Apple's IOS 6, you now have the ability to limit an iPad  to the use of a single app, and turn it off and on as needed. Here's how...

In the General Settings of your ipad, click Accessibility and turn ON 'Guided Access' and set a passcode.

To use this feature, open the app you want to use, and Triple-Click the home button.    
Tap the Start button. 

To turn off Guided Access, triple click the home button again and enter your passcode

Monday, January 7, 2013

So excited to be nominated for a Liebster Award!

Liebster Award - Recognizing New & Upcoming Blogs
I am so excited about being nominated for a Liebster Award!
 I was nominated by: Nikki
at Smart Tarts Learning 
Thanks, Nikki!
 So, what is a Liebster Award? It is an award given by bloggers to bloggers ... a  way of saying- " I appreciate the work you're doing and I enjoy reading your blog... now pay it forward!".  Google it, and you'll see tons of recognized blogs.

The word "liebster" in German means: adj. favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others {source:}

Basically this is a way to get new bloggers' {under 200 followers} blogs out there and recognized and to let you in on some facts about the person who spends precious time blogging for the good of others.

So, here are the rules:
  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • You must answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
  • You must create 11 questions for the people that you nominate.
  • You must choose 11 blogs (w/ less than 200 followers) and link them to your post and let them know they were nominated.
  • You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.
11 Random things about myself...
  1. I would play tennis every single day if I could- regardless of the weather- and have played in the snow, rain, sleet, frost, windstorms, and sahara-like heat.
  2. I LOVE to organize and beautify things.  
  3. I have a personal laminator and a DYMO label machine- and I'm not afraid to use them.
  4. I have a son at College of Charleston in South Carolina.  He is the president of his fraternity (Phi Kappa Tau) and he loves it there.
  5. I have two Ragdoll cats- LOVE them.
  6. My daughter is a smart, kind-hearted, talented artist (for real).
  7. My husband and I went on our first date on July 4, 1986.
  8. My favorite place in the world is London, England.
  9. I have a freckle in my eye.  
  10. I am a horrible driver.  I cannot remember driving directions.  Ever.
  11. I am a horrible cook... but a great party planner.
My Answers to Nikki's Questions:
What is your favorite thing about blogging?  Connecting with people I do not even know, and helping them in some way.
Do you cook? (See 11 above) If so, what is your favorite thing to make? Take- Out Chinese
Technologically savvy or not? Yes-- Very
Favorite color{s}? Light Purple
Do you collect anything? Books!
What is your favorite music genre & artist?  Everything- lately Mumford & Sons
Which states have/do you live in?  Always a Georgia Girl
Have you always lived there? Yes!
What is your absolute favorite meal?  Mexican
Do speak more than one language? No
What was your favorite subject in school? English/ Creative Writing

Questions for my nominees:
What is your favorite web 2.0 tool or site that could be used for teaching (if you have one)?
Name your favorite young adult or children's book?
Name your favorite adult novel?
Technologically savvy or not?
What area of technology (topic or skill) do you wish you knew more about?
What type of computer/technology do you use? Apple or Other?
Do you collect anything?
What is your favorite music genre & artist?
What is the last thing you bought for yourself that was not a necessity?
What is your favorite vacation location?
What is your absolute favorite meal? 
Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My 11 blogs:
  1. (This one is my daughter's most excellent 4th grade teacher!)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Next Issue Magazine Treasure Chest

I actually saved a little money today!

I bought a subscription to "Next "Issue" after doing the math and figuring I am spending about 40 dollars per month buying magazines.

I would throw magazines into my cart in the supermarket, send off the 'bill me later' cards tucked inside, and simply LOVED to get them out of my mailbox. All shiny and unwrinkled. But I have moved on.

I do recycle my friends when we part ways- but I have trouble letting go. I kept my original "Martha Stewart Living" for YEARS. In fact, now that I think about it, I guess my husband threw them away when I was out of town. Or otherwise distracted.

Anyway- I am now learning to love Next Issue. For around 15.00 per month, I  get dozens of digital interactive copies of excellent publications. (around 75 choices!!!)
I even get about 15 back issues of each mag and I am enjoying this so much.

Next Issue offers a 30 day free trial-- give it a go. The fine print says you can cancel at any time. And remember to download what you need to read in advance- especially if you travel with your ipad as a reading device.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lost camera? Use your technical detective skills to find it!! Stolen Camera Finder

Lost camera? Do not fret-  use your technical detective skills to find it!!  The use of this site appears to be free for one search(see pricing link)--  drag a photo in that you took with the same camera, and the site will tell you if anyone else has taken a photo with that camera and posted it online.  Love it.

Make your own iphone case with your photos! (on sale until Jan. 8)

I am so excited about my personalized iphone case that I just had to share it here.  
The pictures are crystal clear on the actual case... this is just a screen shot. 

I ordered it from tinyprints.

I know it isn't as rugged or as a tough as an Otterbox, but I will probably get a new phone soon anyway and I didn't need to invest in an Otterbox.  In fact, I'd get another case like this because they just came out with an iphone 5 version!!

I love to look at the back of my phone when I am in a meeting or otherwise-  it helps me remember what is the most important to me!

Make your own App in iBuildApp

Did you know anyone can make an app in about 30 minutes with basic skills?
I'm making one for my media center that links to items already online- the catalog, Accelerated Reader, and Novelist... these are my favorite web tools in the daily coordination of my media center.

If you need step-by-step help, the Presentation Slides are linked here from Curt Hitchens- who presented this workshop at GaETC 2012: Collaborate, Mind Map, Timeline, Infographic- and create projects with a collaborative virtual white board

You had me at "Multi-Color Post-Its".
In my ongoing quest to beta test everything that isn't alive and breathing, I found realtimeboard.  ... a cool way to plan and coordinate group work.   It uses Google Drive document management to collaborate- and  it has a "Prezi" look and feel- so I'll investigate further but it initially seems to be more simple to jump into than Prezi.  You also invite friends to join your board and collaborate by dragging and dropping them into your board.
Although it is still in Beta- and requires Flash, which practically eliminates ipad users, but it is an interesting new product which allows for mind mapping and popping PDF documents in fairly easily.

Easy to manage the big picture with your team

  • Keep your project on one board
  • Layout your business processes
  • Add the documents from GoogleDocs on your board and edit them
  • Let all your team participate in real time
  • Access from any part of the world

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Become a Class of 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator!

Become a Class of 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator!
Read the agreement and application details here:
Each year Apple selects globally-minded, innovative, enthusiastic educators to be ambassadors for Apple in and out of the classroom.  

Do you feel up to the challenge? If so- you have until Jan. 15, 2013 (in North America) to apply!