Friday, March 21, 2014

Five for Friday of the Longest Week EVER!

I am linking back up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Last Friday was a very quick post for two reasons: 1. After getting iPads Thursday afternoon, that is all I could think about 2. I took off half a day to go home to (Opelika, Al) to see mine and my hubby's families! 

This is one of my favorite field trips. We started our trip at the Touch Lab in Discovery Hall. We had an excellent teacher! She taught us about the sea life that you find in the Gulf of Mexico and pointed out different unique features of some of the sea life. Then we got to explore the real (use to be alive) sea animals!!

Next we went across the street to the Estuarium.
The Estuarium (sort of like an aquarium) highlights the four coastal habitats in Alabama. There we got to see turtles, fish, octopus, crabs, and much much more! 
They even got to play with hermit crabs and a horseshoe crab!
 There is even a sting ray and shark touch pool!
 After lunch we got to explore the beach at the edge of the maritime forest. 
Doesn't that look like the best beach fort ever?!!!

 It was a little cloudy but it wasn't too cold (FINALLY!) and the rain pushed inland and we had the BEST DAY EVER!! 

Sea Life Oceans - A Work in Progress

Our field trip to Dauphin Island kicked off our unit on sea life. As part of our unit the kids are making ocean posters. After learning about different sea life, we make the animal and add it to the oceans. Next week we will be wrapping up our unit by doing some informative writing (standard 2) using templates I purchased from Deanna Jump (here). I love this entire packet and even better, I got it during the 3 Million Teachers Strong sale! We are also going to make her whales and sharks. I will post those next Friday!

Here is a look at my ocean that shows the animals we will be adding.

Jing and
These two amazing tools are powered by TechSmith and have made blogging, designing products for my classroom and Teachers Pay Teachers, and making how to videos so much easier! A few years ago I discovered Jing when making end of the year picture videos (photo stories) for my kids. I wanted to separate all the different activities with a "title page" so I would design them in Word, print them in color, and then scan them back into the computer. Well that would be too bad if I could use the same ones year after year but of course that was not the case. I had a page with the school year to change each year and then there was always a new activity that we had pictures from to add to the project. Deep down in my heart I just KNEW there had to be a way to convert a .doc file into a .jpeg without all the printing and scanning - color ink cost a lot and at the time I did not have a scanner of my own. So finally, after hundreds of Google searches, I came across Jing. Jing is a FREE, fast, and simple way to take screenshots of your computer and save them as a .jpeg file. 
Here is a screen shot of me working on the blog:

You can also video your screen. This is something I had not done until yesterday and that is how I found out about When you make a video with Jing, the file is a .swf file. Some of you that are a lot more techy than I may have seen this before but I had not. I also could not find a way to open the file on my Mac. After reading the FAQ in Jing Screencast is also powered by TechSmith and it is a FREE and easy way to share videos and pictures online. These do not have to be videos and images you captured with Jing - they can be anything. 
My link to screencast here

Both programs are definitely worth a try!! Let me know if you try them and what you think.

iPad Update:
This week we have spent time adding website short cuts to our home screen and learning how to sign in to different accounts.
We have used two apps that the county put on the iPads for us:
Poplet  & QR Reader
My kiddos love poplet! We have used it to write words during whole and small group reading since we don't have another way to "write" on the iPad. They have also used it to take pictures of themselves, each other, and the room and then write or type (I was surprised by how many picked typing over writing.) about their pictures.
The QR Reader has been a great tool. We have used it to get to websites, watch our space videos, and check our class work. I see this being a very popular tool for me and the kids! I hope to have them make their own code soon!

Some websites we have added to our home screen are:
Discovery Education - you know I LOVE this but most importantly so do the kids!!!
Tumble Books - another kid favorite, it reads books to them!

In the future we plan to add links to Big Universe (ebooks and much more) and maybe ABC Mouse (did you know you can set up free accounts for your classroom students). I am on the hunt for non apps to use on the iPad so any suggestions would be great!

For number five I always try to tell you guys something about me instead of school! However, with all the new things we are being given this year I MUST spend part of a day at school this weekend. So this time my #5 is both personal and professional. I try not to do this but when my corner starts feeling claustrophobic (see below), it is time for a spring cleaning (there are about 12 piles of things to sort and file)! Unfortunately our Spring Break isn't until April 14h and I cannot handle this mess any longer. I also need to spend time tweaking my lesson plans now that we have iPads so if you have any great ideas that I can do with my kids, keeping in mind we can't have apps on our iPads, please, please, PLEASE share!!!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Thank you to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday! Now it is your turn to link up and share!


  1. Wow! Awesome info and you are doing such a great job!!


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