Thursday, September 24, 2015

Introducing iPads ~ The First Day

I seriously can no longer imagine teaching without iPads. They make my life so much easier! Here's how I got them into my kids' hands:

1) Super explicit teaching on how to get them out of the cart. We practiced unplugging them correctly and how to use two hands ~ one to hold the iPad and one to hold the plug to unplug it.
2) Then we learned how to use our log-in loops to log into the internet. Apparently I forgot to get a photo of that.

3) Last we learned how to use Vocabulary Spelling City. I always, always, always, preteach a few things about an app or site, then give the kids about 10 minutes to explore. They usually figure out how to use the app really quickly and they remember more because they figured it out themselves. We then gather back together and share what we learned.
 I post which app we'll be using in the morning and which app they can use when they finish ALL their work. This helps with fast finishers and provides time for additional practice.
We have the rule that the volume must be set to half or less when using headphones. Gotta protect those ears!

Check back tomorrow when I'll share how I use QR codes to access websites, do listen to reading, and for research projects! Happy teaching!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Introducing iPads ~ Prep for Success

 Today was iPad day!!! I have to say this is the earliest I have ever introduced iPads to my kiddos. I hit the class jackpot this year! After they moved silently to the carpet for 4th time today, my student teacher leaned over and whispered, "Is this normal?" Nope! Totally not normal, unless apparently it's my group of 2nd graders. Thank you, teacher gods! And now I'm totally knocking on wood so I don't jinx it.

Here's what I did ahead of time to get ready:

1) My kids all have a number. They hang their backpacks on their number in the hall. They have a headphone pocket with their number on it. I write their numbers on their nametags and I have them write them on their papers. Once the number is ingrained, I let them know it's also their iPad number. This makes getting and returning iPads much easier. I bought these supercute iPad numbers and backgrounds from Erintegration's TPT store and loaded them onto the iPads. So much easier when someone forgets their iPad or grabs the wrong one on accident.

2) We have headphone pockets! This was a brilliant idea I had this year (which happens occasionally). I had this pocket chart thing I used for mailboxes last year and I hated it. Seriously, I glared at that thing every day. Headphones drove me bonkers last year with cords hanging out of cubbies, headphones left on desks no matter how many times I asked people to put them away. Grrr! Enter the headphone pockets!!!! Kids put their headphones in their numbered pocket on their way to putting away their iPads. Genius! I also created a job for it, so someone stands at the pockets and makes sure everyone's headphones get put away and they tidy up any cords hanging out. I'm such a happy camper now!
Good grief my back door looks nasty! We're moving into a new building next year. Yay for clean doors and no asbestos!

3) I used this freebie from 4th Grade Frolics and made Log-In Loops for all my kids. We started with just our wifi and Spelling City usernames and passwords and we'll add cards as we add websites. I used to just use a tech card, but these are cute and I'm a sucker for cute and functional. For now they'll sit on their desks. I think they'll eventually get stored in a baggie in their iPad parking spots. What's that, you ask? I'll tell you tomorrow :)

4) Next, I printed and posted my iPad rules. I grabbed these rules as a freebie from Kristi Swearengin. Super adorable and useful. They're in the front above my alphabet for easy reference and reminders.

5) I copied off our school tech agreement, which one of our fabulous 3rd grade teachers updated this year.

6) I worked out the flow. Kids will get their iPads and headphones when they come in each morning and put them away in the last 10 minutes of the day. I needed to make sure the cart - we call it a calf - was in a place that was easily accessible, but out of the way. I also wanted it near the headphone pockets, so I moved some work station tables around and parked it near a back wall. Now kids can flow straight to their headphones and iPads, then walk toward the front of the room to get to their seats. I know, I know. I'm picky and controlling, but life seriously works so much easier when you've got 27 kids all trying to get to the same place at the same time.

Once all that was done, we were ready to go! Check back tomorrow to hear how I introduce iPads and set high expectations from the start. See you tomorrow!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Get Moving with QR Codes

Anyone else have a squirrely group this year? Mine definitely need to move...a lot!!! We use GoNoodle three or four times a day and I'm constantly looking for other ways to get them up and moving. The past two weeks we've been doing a lot with QR Codes. Last week when we worked on inferring, I posted QR codes for 5 different photos around the room. The kids paired up and each selected a different QR code. They scanned them, then met up to look over their photos and make inferences about what they thought was happening in the photos. After we got some practice, we went back to our story of the week, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, and I airdropped two photos to the story to them. Farmer Brown looks so cranky in this one!

They dropped the photos into a document using Noteability and typed up a sentence about each picture. It was a ton of work (and there was definitely some whining when things didn't go just right), but it's rare to get 100% engagement with 29 second graders, but we had it!!!! Here's the document. Feel free to grab it here!

This week we're digging deep into geometry. After taking a progress monitoring assessment, students got to get up and get moving around the room using Stuckey in Second's freebie, Shapes Around the Room.  Here's some pics of my kiddos getting the wiggles out while showing what they know about 2D shapes. My plan is to grade them, then have them go scan the QR codes to check their own work.

Thanks for stopping by! Only 9 more days until winter break!!!
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Babies and Book Creator

Ang and I disappeared for a while. Even after 13 years, the beginning of the year just wears me out! I have no idea how my favorite teacher bloggers keep up with everything.

In happy news, Ang welcomed her second daughter, Harper, yesterday. I can't wait to get my hands on her! So, needless to say, Ang is going to be too busy to blog for a few months.

We really created this blog to help out our fellow teachers. What would help you in implementing more technology in your classroom? Let us know and I'll work on blogging about it!

One of my new favorite projects this year is my students' scrapbook. We're using Book Creator (a super easy app that does exactly what its name says) and each student is responsible for creating and updating their own books. I started the year by taking a "1st Day of Second Grade" photo of each student. I airdropped them (do you airdrop? It makes life so much easier!) to the kids and they uploaded their own photos into their books. They then wrote about their first day. We're working on taking photos of work we're proud of, taking photos on field trips so we can write about them, and just using our cameras to capture moments in our day. The kids seem to really enjoy creating their books and are way more engagd in writing and keyboarding. I'm working on not being so controlling and letting them make mistakes :)  One of my favorite teacher tricks is to tell kids I've never used the app and to go discover for 10 minutes and report back what they've learned. They always, ALWAYS end up learning way more than I could ever teach them - and they usually find things I didn't know were there. Saves me from doing all the talking and they feel much more empowered.

Other ways we use Book Creator:
Elf on the Shelf antics - Ang and I each have an Elf who make their debut on the first day in December. The kids snap a photo of the Elf and write about what the elf was doing when they found it. They title their own book and have a blast discovering the Elf each day.

Publishing their writing - We use Being a Writer for our writing curriculum and there's not a lot of opportunities for kids to publish their work. It's so easy for them to snap a photo of their illustration and type in the text. The autocorrect helps keep me from having to help them fix up their spelling.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My feet hurt!

Yesterday was our first day back to work. Why is it that no matter how clean and organized you leave your room at the end of the year, there always seems to be a million little things to do once the new year comes? Ang and I spent much of our time today laminating, making subject signs and cutting out those massive piles of lamination while rocking out to some old school hip hop. I am one lucky girl to have such an amazing teaching partner!!!! Tomorrow we're off to a training in the morning and more planning time in the afternoon. One our goals is to create our year plans. We've been inspired by Amy Lemons at Step Into Second Grade. Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If you haven't seen how she plans out her year, take a look here.

In other news, I need new shoes! What is it about summer that turns my strong teacher feet into these delicate little flowers who throb after just an hour running around my room? I love my flip flops, but they're just not cutting it! What are your favorite teacher shoes? I think these are adorable, but I have questionable fashion sense :) Seriously, it was a big deal that I bought a dress and a skirt this summer!

In other news, one of my best friends got married in Hawaii this summer. She's having a party and a friend and I painted their new cornhole boards. They are adorable, if I do say so myself!
We hope you have a great week!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Hoppin' ~ Where?

My Classroom Digs

So, we're not back to school yet. I headed over to school yesterday and took some "Before" pics. I'll be back next week to post my afters. I have to say, now that I know how to make cute stuff, I totally want to redo a bunch of stuff in my room. BUT....I'm holding off for one year...just one. Why? Why you ask? Because they're building a new school for us!!!!!!!! My classroom was built many, many moons ago and I cannot wait to move into a brand new asbestos-free room! So, here's my before photos. I'm happy to say I've cleaned out a lot of stuff, so there's not too much to do.

Look at those cute helpers! That's Syd, Ang's daughter, and Caitlin, my daughter. They're such good friends and are the sweetest!

Some of you are already headed back to school. Caitlin's starting kindergarten this year (cue the tears!) and I'm bound and determined to document it! I love taking pictures of the kids on the first day and adding them to their portfolios. They love seeing how much they grew over the course of the year. I've got some cute First Day of School chalkboard signs for grades K-5 in my TPT store for free. Click the photo and go grab yours!

Have a great Tuesday! ~ Erin

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Monday, August 18, 2014
(Click the photo to head back to the Blog Hop and check out some other great bloggers!)

It's our first blog hop! Ang and Erin are a 2nd grade teaching team. We teach 2nd grade in Oregon and last year we helped pilot a 1:1 iPad program. We each have about 30 kiddos in our classrooms and every one of them has an iPad! We started this blog to connect with others who teach with technology and to offer help and support to those who need it! Follow us here and join us over on Facebook. Head over and give us a like to keep up to date on all things technology! We have a few freebies over there you might like.

Erin's up first!


My last name is Gaston. Grown ups think Beauty and and the Beast and my middle schoolers loved ask me if I had a "ton of gas". 
 My husband and I first met when I was 13, then again while we were working at Disneyland. We didn't start dating until I was 27, though :) We've been married for almost 9 years and have had 2 beautiful girls. Caitlin is 5 and our sweet Claire passed away when she was born. Caitlin's ready to start Kindergarten this year and she'll be coming to my school! I'm excited to get to see her at school everyday!



I truly have the best friends a girl could ever hope for. My friends are either all colleagues or friends from grade school! When we moved to Oregon from California 9 years ago, it was hard to start over, but my girlfriends both here in Oregon and in California are tried and true! 
(P.S. Sorry to my friends...we need to take more pictures together!)

Things I Love:

Disneyland!!!!! Even after working there for 8 years, it's still magical every time we go! We try and go once a year, usually around Christmas time. There's nothing more special than Disneyland at Christmas! 

  Tim McGraw...seriously, who doesn't?

Dutch Bros. Blended Soy Caramelizers...delicious, but I'm trying to quit!

Reading mindless chick lit! Robyn Carr, JD Robb, and Nora Roberts are my current faves. My dad put some built-ins on either side of our fireplace so I could hide my massive collection of books!


Now Ang's Turn:

I am originally from Portland, Or., but moved to Eugene to go to school at the University of Oregon (GO DUCKS!)
I have a lovely little family down here. I have been married to my wonderful husband Phil for 5 years. We met through my roommates boyfirend at the time. The funny part was that I was actually suppose to have a date night with a different boy that night and he never showed. I guess it was meant to be. One he came for "Soup Night," he never left. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and my family. I also have a 3 year old daughter Sydney, and getting ready to have another baby girl on Thanksgiving day. Wish us luck!

What would I do without my friends? I have many friends from my early years to college and on to work, but I have to say the majority of my friends are teachers. Surprise, Surprise! I love hanging out with my friends, but I have many a friends that I only chat with once or twice a year. I am not one to call and text them all every moment.

Things I Love:
NAPS! What person does not like naps. Any chance I have I take one. I am also a huge fan of sports, especially football of any kind. Let's just say, the ESPN logo is burnt into our home TV. I also enjoy watching the First 48 episodes. I am a avid coffee drinker, love to craft in my spare time and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE technology!