Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to NOT Attend a Conference - #notatiste14

At last week's TCEA Tots and Technology, I learned so much.  One thing I learned is that you don't always have to be at the convention to learn from it and connect with other educators. So this time, I decided to try virtually attending ISTE, which is held in Atlanta, Georgia this year.

Here's Mrs. T's Guide for NOT Attending a Conference

Step 1:  Find a conference you want to go to, but for some reason ($$$) can't make it and learn the hashtag on Twitter (#ISTE2014)

Step 2:  Search Twitter for others talking about the conference and discover that there are others like you that can't go, but want to learn together. Follow them! If you're lucky, there will be someone that is way ahead of you and has created a Google+ Community - JOIN! (Thanks @jenwagner for setting this up!)

Step 3: Pick up your virtual badge:

Step 4:  Find the schedule for the live broadcasts on TeacherCast and watch over breakfast with your cat - Katie is a VERY important part of my PLN (Personal Learning Network).

Learning with @cybraryman1 and @TeacherCast
Step 6: Check the schedule and continue connecting with and following others both at the convention and not at the convention.  Favorite and/or Retweet comments that interest you. Presenters often post links to their presentations on Twitter, Google Docs, or Slideshare.

Step 7: Relax and enjoy NOT going to a convention, but still finding great new resources and meeting new people.

Now this is nowhere near a complete list!  I'm still a newbie at a lot of this, but at least I'm trying and putting myself out there and will have some great ideas to use in my new classroom.

Have a FANTASTIC day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Blogging at the Beach - TCEA Tots and Technology

Summer Learning, Had me a Blast!

The best thing about being a teacher is having summers "off" to do professional development with friends!  Luckily, I live an hour from Galveston Island where TCEA put on their Tots and Technology Conference this week.  I'm also lucky enough to have a friends that will invite me to share a hotel room with them (Thanks MJ!) so I can go to a conference with a view like this:

 We started the conference off with our first use of tech integration: tweeting our selfies to #TCEAtots:

Tweeting selfies with MJ

I might not use Twitter that much with my 3rd graders, but it is an excellent way to keep up with the latest education news and share (within limits) with parents.

The next two days I spent going to some amazing sessions, learning new ways to use technology with my students and in collaboration with other teachers.  Rather than list everything, I'll just give you a link to my notes that includes some of the best links:  TOTS and TECHNOLOGY 2014

I also posted several to my Pinterest Board - Follow Amanda's board Tech Teacher Tools on Pinterest.

This conference was perfect for my goal to become more prepared and organized for my new classroom this coming school year.   I already have several ideas for beginning of school and ways for my kids to effectively use iPads in the classroom.  The best part of this conference was that is was very hands-on, so I got to make my own example for the perfect "Get to Know Me" Google Drawing activity:

Get to Know Me w/Google Drawing

Lastly, no conference would be complete without door prizes at the end.  Well, I actually won something this time!  I walked away with a copy of Goodnight iPad (a parody of Goodnight Moon) and a stylus shaped like a Crayon (I think my nephew would enjoy that!).

My Loot!

Next time, I'll continue to work on my organization and planning and share my progress.
Have a FANTASTIC day!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mission Organization - Part 1: The Binder!

You would think that after teaching for this long I would have organization down - well, think again!  I would never be mistaken for the Queen of Organization, the Princess of Perfection, or even the Court Jester of Consolidation.  But I am determined that this time - with a new school, new kids, and a new room - I will have it (mostly) together.

Right now, I have a couple of months before I can fulfill my dream Doctor Who decor scheme, so I'm going to start with something pretty basic, but also quite essential - THE BINDER!  With much thanks to Pinterest and TeachersPayTeachers, I actually have a pretty good plan of attack on this one.  I also found an awesome Doctor Who theme from Katy LaPlace for it, so we are off to a fabulous start. (Btw: She also has Wizard of Oz and Disney themes if Who is not your thing!)

Here's a picture of the front cover:

I have my planner divided into the following sections:
  • Calendar (Long Range and Month-at-a-Glance)
  • Lesson Plans (I do my plans on, but want to keep printouts here)
  • Standards (TEKS, Common Core)
  • Student Data (Click here for one example of an info sheet)
  • Meeting Notes
I will also be making separate binders for Sub Information and Parent Contact/Conferences, all with the same Doctor Who theme.

Here are some pics of my completed binder:

Outside cover
Inside cover
Student Information

It really feels great to have at least this first step done!  I will also be making another set for Guided Math, but that will have to wait for another blog.

Next week I'm going to a TCEA Tots and Technology Conference, so I'll have lots of ideas to share!
Have a FANTASTIC day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Taking the Plunge!

After 14 years of teaching in elementary, middle, and high school, most recently at a local private school, I've decided to plunge back into the public school realm as a 3rd Grade Math & Science teacher.  I'm excited to get to teach one of my favorite ages my most favorite subjects, but honestly, a little nervous about keeping up with all the acronyms again - IEPs, RTIs, and of course, the STAAR.

Here I plan to share some of my hopes and plans for my new adventure as a 3rd grade teacher.  As I have time (and as we know, teachers have TONS of extra time!) I'll try and share some of the ideas I have, and let you know what works and what doesn't.

Doctor Who?

OK, I have a small confession to make.  I am a HUGE geek!  I love nearly all things sci-fi and fantasy - Star Wars, Star Trek (in all its iterations), Sherlock. Supernatural, and most of all, Doctor Who!  Yes, I am one of those people that wait in line for hours to see panels and get autographs at Comic-Cons.  And, yes, I dress up.  Here's a picture of me from Comicpalooza this year:

Yep, I'm wearing a TARDIS skirt in a TARDIS!
So, of course, my first plan for this year is to have a Doctor Who theme for my classroom!  I want to make my door into a TARDIS (this is a sort of time machine for those of you who have no idea!).  I want to do something like this:
I also have several quotes from the show I want to use for inspiration (found on


On my list is to find some really neat (hopefully Doctor Who related) fabric to make some benches I found on Pinterest using crates.

Now, I do know teaching is not all about your room theme, but I think it's important for the students to learn about who you are as a person.  I want kids to know that it's ok to be different and not be ashamed of who they are and where they come from and the things that make them happy.  In my classroom, I want my kids to think that they can be anything and do just about anything - well, we might have to have a few rules :) !  I want them coming into my room wondering, "Where will we go today?"

Thanks for letting me babble on!  I'm just very excited right now.  I know there will be many ups and downs, but I can't wait to share them.

Have a FANTASTIC day!