Monday, December 29, 2014

Wrapping up 2014

I'm sitting on the couch watching my Arkansas Razorbacks in the Texas Bowl. It is the first time this since school let out that I've pulled out my laptop and done anything at all work related. Even then, it is mostly fun and not "work." I have stopped by my classroom a few times, but only to feed the fish and water our seedlings. Newspaper pots, anyone?

My husband and I splurged a few days before Christmas. We hired "The Maids" to come in and deep clean the house. It had to be one of my very best ideas ever. After that, I declared this to be the Christmas of no mess and no stress. Amazingly enough, it actually worked. I'm considering making 2015 the year of no stress and no mess. We'll see how it goes!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you saw my big news.

I'm still in shock! I submitted two proposals for ISTE 2015. My goal was to try for a poster session so that I could just attend the conference. My husband said that I was selling myself short. To humor him, I submitted a modified version of the session I did at the NCTM regional conference. On the day that resulted were announced, I had my Tweetdeck open and waiting for word that the notifications had been sent out. I was so sure that I was going to get a rejections that I didn't add to the "still waiting to hear" posts. I logged in to my account at 8pm to see that both proposals were accepted. I was left flabbergasted!

Before then, of course is FETC. I had an amazing time last year. If you are going to FETC, so sure to check out this post. I first learned about the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator program at a session at FETC. If you are a teacher that is passionate about using technology in the classroom, I would highly recommend looking into this program.

Happy New Year! My the rest of your break have no mess and no stress!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Apply to be a 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

PBS is once again looking for America’s most innovative educators!

Are you using digital media and technology to lead innovation in your school? Then apply now through 2/11/15 to be a 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator! Whether you are flipping your classroom, integrating tablets and mobile devices, using game-based learning to engage your students and more, we want to hear from you.  Submit your application today for an opportunity to receive one year of FREE PD including virtual trainings, access to exclusive resources and events, membership into a robust professional learning community and an all-expense paid two-day trip to Philadelphia, PA preceding the ISTE conference!

The class of 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators has been making headlines all year. Some of their accomplishments include:

Last month I was part of a panel that presented a webinar about adding art to STEM education. I have loved being a part of this group this year and look forward to being active in the "alumni" group of Digital Innovators. 

Don’t just imagine what opportunities the PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program has in store for you; take the next step and apply now through 2/11/15!


Monday, December 8, 2014

FETC Discount Code

November was all about conferences for me. I attended the NSTA Regional Conference in Orlando early in the month. A couple of weeks later I flew to Houston to present at the NCTM Regional Conference. I have a blog post planned with my favorite finds from these two events if I can just find time to sit down and write.

I love conferences. I always find such neat ideas. I actually like going to conferences enough that I have started to submit proposals to present. My school is a lot more willing to send you when you are presenting. After attending FETC last year I knew that I needed to try my best to get back again!

I'd like to personally invite you to attend my session at FETC 2015, taking place January 20-23 in Orlando, Florida. Information on my session is below, along with a special registration discount of up to $110 off the Regular Conference Package Prices*.

Mixing it up with STEAM (AS3062)
Date: Friday, January 23, 2015

In this session, we will discuss how your students can mix a recycled cardboard arcade with technology including augmented reality, Google Apps, and movie making.

FETC is the leading international conference that brings education and technology experts together to exchange strategies and best practices for teaching and learning success—and I’m thrilled to be a part of it! Make plans now to join me and discover the future of education technology.

Register today using my unique promo code – SPK376 – and receive $110* off the Regular Registration fee! For more information on the conference, please visit

*$110 discount off Regular Conference Rates, or $10 off the current Early Bird rates.
Please note – the discount does not apply to currently registered attendees.

I hope to see you this January!

Friday, October 31, 2014

STEAM Lab Pumpkin Patch 2014

I've always loved using pumpkins in the classroom. This year I again bought 40 pumpkin from my local Walmart for the STEAM Lab pumpkin patch. This year, in an attempt to add a little more math and science, we created a "baseball card" for each pumpkin.

Using Google Drive, these pages were printed and posted in the hallway. They have been a big hit! I'm already thinking about how to improve them for next year.

I have a Pinterest board I use for inspiration. Several of the push-ins were bought last year on clearance. Instead of paining, we used colored tissue paper and a glue/water mixture. I find it stays nicer than the paint and it makes it easier to have 18-22 students participate in the decorating process.

So, here are our pumpkin creations.

The pumpkins were auctioned off during the Halloween Howl. I am still waiting to hear the total raised, but it was a big hit!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dot Day 2014: STEAM Dots

I love The Dot. International Dot Day is September 15ish. I love the story and the idea behind Dot day. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it!

Last year my students just made dots. It was my first couple of months in the STEAM Lab, and it was my first real art project. It went well, but this year I decided to change it up a bit. My upper elementary students made STEAM Dots.

The science dots were made using sun prints. The students got to find an object that would leave a "dot" shadow. Once in water the students were amazed as the colors set.

This was a big hit! I have more sun print paper left over and will definitely use it again for another project later in the year. It would be a great art connection after studying our WeatherSTEM station's UV sensor.

I love colAR. I let all my 375+ students make one of these dots. They each got to see their dot come to life using the app. I compiled each class' dots into a book that I posted in the hallway. Augmented reality still amazes me!

For engineering dots,  I was inspired by these 3D color wheels. I wasn't picky on the colors used, but I liked the idea of students figuring out how to transform 4 paper plates into a 3D shape. Other students chose to use this printable soccer ball template to create a paper ball dot. Both were a litle challenging, but worked well.

For art dots, I left out crayons, markers, texture plates, and tempera paint. They had lots of options, but most of my artist prefer paint. I had a number of Jason Pollock inspired dots.

Math was the area I had the hardest time to figure out. I brainstormed and I provided students with die cut pattern blocks. Some students used the blocks to create dots. The more popular math dot was compass painting.

My 3-5 students all made a technology dot and then got to choose one other dot to make. I'd planned to do the same with some of the younger grades but after making the colAR dots, I decided it was too much. Instead I opted to try something else.

 My K-2 students made these coffee filter dots.  I really enjoyed the project and the finished results.

My favorite part of out Dot Day celebrations this year was having the kids work outside. We've really worked on our outdoor learning space. I love opening my back door and having students work on the patio.

So, the post might be a little late-ish, but there you have it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Last Day to Enter

Just a reminder that there are only a couple of hours left to enter my Birthday Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, be sure to do so for a chance to win an awesome gift set from LoveBird Soap and a TpT Gift Certificate.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Birthday Giveaway: LoveBird Soap and $25 TpT Gift Certificate

Today is my birthday. I decided over the summer that I wanted to have a giveaway for my birthday.

I spent too long making a 'quick' little button. It wasn't what I wanted, but it will do! What really matters is that I am giving away a $25 TpT gift certificate and a prize pack from LoveBird Soap with two large soaps, a lotion bar, and a lip balm.

When I was in middle and high school, I did a lot of babysitting. I had enough regular clients to not need any other jobs. I feel really old admitting that I used to babysit for the owner of LoveBird Soap. Last year I ordered from Katie's store for the first time. I bought several bars of soap, a lotion bar, and a lip balm. I loved everything so much I ordered more to give as Christmas gifts.

I use the Morning Madness soap each morning. The tea tree spearmint lotion bar is fantastic for when I have a migraine. It is also great on my feet and hands. I custom ordered lip balm with cinnamon and clove that has replaced my old Burt's Bees. I love it!

I haven't seen her since the late 90's, but I know Katie is working hard to grow her business, and I was thrilled when she said she would donate to my birthday giveaway. Please be sure to visit her on social media.

Oh, and I'm also giving away a $25 TpT Gift Certificate. Just because can.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Disclaimer: Katie is sending me a bar of her yummy smelling pumpkin soap as a birthday present, but all opinions are my own. This stuff is awesome. That is my honest opinion.