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I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts

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Using Technology

Use These in Your Classroom for Addition Fact Fluency

I have to share two great videos one of our teachers found for teaching doubles math facts.  She also inspired me to find a video for bonds of ten.  This year our district opened up the You Tube site for us to use.  Previously You Tube  had been blocked.  The kids absolutely L-O-V-E the doubles videos!  They are great if kids are restless or need a moment to move since they have a fun beat.  See for yourself!

Now, in my head when I’m going home, I’m singing, “Doubles, Doubles I can Add Doubles.”

 

How Can You Design and Build Your Own Blog Template?

All, I can say is WHEW!!  I have spent a tough two weeks going through a break up.  So, I gladly welcomed the new love into my life.  I am sure you all want to hear about him.  I have spent hours gazing into his face, learning all his quirks, and reading his every movement.  I hope you are all happy for me.  This is going to be a long term relationship…I can just sense it.  They say you just know that you know when he’s the one.

Gotcha!  (maybe 😀 )  The breakup of course was with my old apple-y blog.  I am so glad to be rid of the old theme!  When I first started blogging, I had no idea there were so many teachers that were out there blogging until I saw the “blogs” tab on TPT.  When I started seeing all the other teachers’ blogs, I desired a little more personality, and I’ll just say it–cuteness–in my own blog.  And so, I made that one of my summer goals.  And of course, my new love affair is with my new blog because I literally poured over making the template, uploading it, and working out the glitches.  The last day I worked on it, my eyes were so red and my wrist was hurting from working on the computer so many consecutive hours and days.  You may think that sounds like no fun, but I found working on this project addictive!

Before

To help save you some time if you are considering building a blog, I will tell you how I did it.

1.  First of all I looked at some cute templates out there for sale, but I REALLY wanted to make my own because I had a design in mind.  Plus I wanted to learn how to do this for myself.  At first, I thought that I would have to know computer code, but after a little digging and you tube video watching, I found out that I could use Artisteer to build blog templates.  Artisteer is a program that you can download for about $50.  So, I used some of my TPT money and invested in this software.  They have a trial version for free that puts watermarks on your pages, but I just went ahead and bought it without trying it out because I had watched the you tube videos. (sidenote I have a word press blog, but Artisteer works for blogger too!)  Click below to go to the Artisteer site.

Artisteer - Web Design Generator
If you want your blog to be cutesy, you must buy some clip art.  I bought my clip art and backgrounds from mygrafico because they advertise on TPT and because they issue commercial licenses.  They have lots of designers that make all kinds of cute clip art.  They also have lots of freebies.

Mygrafico Digital Arts & Crafts
 

3.  Then I used Photoshop which I already had on my computer to put the cute clip art together to make my blog header.  I believe you can probably get Photoshop for less on Amazon.com because I checked prices on the updated version.  Every now and then though Adobe has sales on their software, so it would be worth signing up on their email list to know about sales.  There may be some comparable software to Photoshop that you could put your clip art together in, but I don’t know about it. Please comment if you know of something that works better.  I will warn you that Photoshop is  a learning curve if you haven’t used photo editing software like it before, and you may be better off paying someone to design a header for you, or paying for a template.

4.   Lesson Learned:  Choose from the fonts that are web fonts on Artisteer.  Don’t spend hours trying out all the cutesy fonts you have installed from elsewhere because all of the browsers (explorer, mozzilla, safari) won’t read them the same or at all for that matter.  If you want cutesy fonts in your header, then you will have to install them in a picture in Photoshop.  I used KevinandAmanda.com’s free fonts in my header.  The only way you can have cute fonts in your posts(in word press) is if you use a widget for google web fonts, but even those aren’t always read in their cutesy-ness by devices such as an ipad.  I can’t speak for blogs with a blogger platform.

*****(July 27, 2013–Since the time I originally wrote this post, I found a plug in that works wonders.  It is “Use Any Font”.  That plugin gave me the ability to put the cute font on my headers, titles, and hyperlinks.  This plugin will change the font in your posts as well, but I opted not to do this because the font was a bit wearisome to to the eyes.  The plugin was a God send.  I installed it and was able to see the results within a matter of minutes.  It was so easy to use!)

I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts

5.  Thanks to Wayne Gretzky for helping me to make a button for my blog on his great button maker site.  Also, for a really great tutorial with step by step and picture  instructions on how to make  a blog button, go here to my pregnancybaby.com.

I hope the above helps you if you plan on creating a blog.  I still have a few glitches to work out in my own blog, but it is almost where I want it 🙂 yay me!  I feel like I just won a marathon.

 

I Just Saw the Most Brilliant Use of a Flip Cam!

When I stepped into a classroom yesterday I was so intrigued that I couldn’t leave.  Before I spill the beans on what I saw, I must say this.  There has been a lot of emphasis at my school about having students share their work for a lesson closing.  This idea could also spill over into the common core mathematical practices in which students must “construct viable arguments and construct the reasoning of others”.  Now I understand that when students share their work in front of the class that this does promote other students’ higher levels of thinking as other students decide whether they agree or disagree.  On the other hand at this late point in the school year the downfall of student sharing is that even with a doc camera and students’ micro phoned voices other students attention spans are likened to a fly hovering over a summer picnic buffet.

Now, onto what I saw.  Ms. T was showing students a flip cam video of herself talking to a student named ‘Briana’, who was solving a double digit addition problem with base ten blocks which she had taped during the students’ work time.  She showed the video to students after their work time and paused it after the questions she asked Briana in the video.  Then Ms. T would ask the class what the answer was to the question in the video.  The class would respond.  Then Ms. T would un-pause the video to allow the class to see if Briana answered, counted, or exchanged blocks correctly.  I absolutely loved this–so much more engaging than regular sharing!

Thanks to the literacy people who ordered these flip cams with literacy money! 🙂  They were originally bought for students to do book talks.  Using them for math sharing–so much better in my unbiased opinion ;).

Fabulous App Find!!

I just discovered a new app called Show Me similar to an interactive white board on the ipad.  A kindergarten teacher shared with me today how she uses this app in her classroom.  She uses a class set of ipads and has the students record themselves talking as they are  solving math problems.  The app has the ability to record the students’ voices and actions on the screen as they are thinking through their problem.  Students can write on the screen with their finger or a stylus in several different colors while they are solving their problem.  Pictures can be imported from the ipad files or you could email yourself a picture from another file to have it on your ipad. For example, if you wanted to solve problems with color tiles, then you could build some colored squares in another program and email them to yourself.  This particular kindergarten teacher, however, explained how she had students  solve CGI problem types on the ipad while they recorded their voice and writing on the screen.  She did this in order that she could hear their thinking because she wasn’t always able to make it to every student to hear their thinking.  Later she would take the ipad home so she could hear the students solving their problems.

You Will Want to Bookmark This Freebie!

The librarian at school forwarded me this fabulous site with ready made smart board lessons!  Great for K-5 students.  There are many fun and interactive  lessons for math, geography, history, science, phonics, literacy.  Take the time to browse.

Do You Need an App for Almost Any Discipline?

Use this link for almost any app you can think of.  The link will take you to a nearly exhaustive chart of all types of educational apps sorted by discipline.  Some of them are free and some are not.  These would be great to compile a list for your students’ parents or to use in the classroom if your school has access to ipods or ipads.

Free App for Your iphone to Learn Mental Math Strategies

Our school’s guidance counselor came to me the other day and told me about an app she had discovered on the iphone–Mental Math Ninja.  This app teaches mental math strategies using videos all for free.  I learned some mental math strategies from watching these videos.  Just when I thought I had learned most of the mental math strategies there were from being a math coach and attending many workshops, I learned more!  Some of the videos included are:

  • Rapidly multiply by 11’s,
  • Calculate a 15% tip
  • The Secret to Mental Addition
  • Rapid Single Column Addition
  • Rapid Two Column Addition
  • Adding Money
  • Rapidly Multiply 2-digit Numbers
  • Square Numbers Ending in 5
  • Square Numbers in the 50’s
  • Square Numbers Close to 100
  • Mutiply 2-digit by 1-digit Numbers
  • Square any 2-digit Number
  • Multiply 3-digit by 1-digit Numbers
  • Multiply 3-digit by 2-digit Numbers
  • Multiply 3-digit by 3-digit Numbers
  • Divide by 0.5 or 5 or 50
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