Thursday, May 29, 2014

Linked In - Another Meek Moose Adventure in Social Media: i-stapps interactive gaming platform

So.  I suppose everybody else knows about this too.  I just got into it around the same time as I began Instatwittering.

Quick update on Instatwittering:

I've already been "unfollowed" by a friend because she said I kept blowing up her feed with my virtual field trips.  #mixedfeelings.  Also, I've taken to writing hashtag snarks everywhere but twitter, because I'm afraid it will somehow become a thing.  And I keep getting followed on twitter by prostitutes.  WHY?  Girls in middle school have gotten more action than me.  Seriously.  I have nothing to offer you, ladies! Go stalk someone else.  Although, maybe everybody needs to be allowed to appreciate Mount Vernon, and Target, and EdTech.  #conflicted

Back on track, back on track, chug-a-chug...

On Linked In I have found many educational groups to join that post AWESOME articles about EVERYTHING.  To emphasize my deep feelings about this, let me quote Barbie from Life in the Dreamhouse, "It's Amaze!"

Second Tangent.. you haven't watched it? FOR SHAME!  Kids might think, "oooooo, Barbie!" but any sarcastic self-respecting nerdy female that was never popular in high school loves this show for it's pure, untainted, addicting farce. #damnshehasbaggage

I'll leave you a you-tube link to all 2 hours worth of episodes, click the picture:

Alright, this time I'll be focused.  Recently I came across an update about Edtech equipment that was using Kickstarter to raise funds.  

The i-stapps, an active gaming platform!

Click to go to the Company Site

Game based learning.  These steps make your smart device active- like Wii or Kinect sort of gaming. 

Here's their video:

And then click HERE to go to the kickstarter page.

Now.  Aside from the fact that I now want to go to the Netherlands, this product idea is FABULOUS!!!
They are in no way paying me to say any of this. Just so we're all clear.  I'm looking at donating because I waaaaaaannnnnnnnt it!  I did the Euro conversion, and for the early bird investment (shipping included):

But, I really liked the option for getting the whole set plus the ability to create games.  That would run me:

Or do I really want that limited edition backpack and ALL the games they already have?

When I first did the conversion, it seemed like a lot of money to me.  But then I got to thinking- how much did I spend when I bought my first Wii?  How much have I dropped in a run to the grocery store? This last amount is about how much I paid in one month to this medical weight loss chain to get thinner.  (Worked like a charm, btw, but also nearly killed me by threatening an imminent anyeurism- so those of you dieting and exercising, KEEP DOING THAT). But, I do look awesome for almost dying. #itsthelittlethings

Face it- we've spent that sort of dough before on things way less cool.  They're kickstarter fundraising ends in 35 days, so I've got a month to budget myself the money.  I'm not sure exactly which option I'll choose, but it will be one of the three.  I've never invested in anything before- it's sort of exciting and scary at the same time.  But, it also sounds like a great opportunity to try something really innovative in my classroom.

What do you think?  Do you think you'd give it a go?  I'd love to have folks to test it with me.  Do you know someone who would be interested?  Got a lot of followers?  Why don't you give them a tweet?  At least replay the video with the handsome Dutch guys....(also obsessed with the curved window, because that's how I roll)

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Summer Bucket List (abridged)

Today I'm linking up with Deanna at Mrs. Jump's Class for her Top Ten Things I Want to Do This Summer Linky.

Now, I'm saying ABRIDGED because when I went to plan out the ten things I wanted to list for this post, my list ended up being 50+ items long.  Typically, I dream big!  It's probably more like a 50+ list of things I will only half do or never manage to begin.  But still.  I loooooove me some lists!
So, here's ten things I'll probably cry about if I don't manage to accomplish- which makes them the TOP TEN of the 50+.
1. Bi-Monthly Trips to the nail salon for a mani-pedi. (At least bi-monthly) For serious.  I'm already counting down to next weekend, as it will be the next two week interval...

2. Visit the Crayola Factory.  Aside from the fact that I love crayola.  Aside from the fact that I've wanted to visit the factory since I saw it when I was 26 years old.  Now my daughter wants to go.  And she is diabolically persistent.  So I know it's going to happen.  And hey!  You get to make your own custom marker!  How sweet is that?

3. Meet up with my Virginia Blogger Buddies!  I trust that this is absolutely in the works.  They've made up a Facebook page for it and everything- so it's going to be awesome!  Also, this will probably be my only "adult" vacation I get this summer.  And have had since, well, ever?  No- scrap that- 2003.  But I was six months pregnant, with my eventual ex-husband, and in RENO  So no- I'm not counting it.

4. Take a week long Wetlands Study Class.  It sounds totally nerdy now that I've typed it.  But whatevs. Five different classes across the week and you get to learn about making a Rain Garden as an outdoor classroom.  That is so up my alley, it's not even sad!

5. Read some books.  And ok, maybe it would be some people's opinion that I should be reading some sort of fiction genre-ish book- but I actually seem to enjoy teacher books more.  And that is why I am the life of the party...  I have three on my mind at the moment, one is a on-line book study at Thinking of Teaching, the other is a school assigned summer read, and the last one is a self-care sort of deal. Because I'm all about taking care of myself apparently.

6. My great-great-grandfather died horrifically in a Brooklyn Theater fire in 1876. Yeah.  Nuts.  Bit removed from it though, so it's more like historical genealogy hunting for me.  Anyway- I would like to make the drive up there to Brooklyn to Green-Wood Cemetery and take a rubbing of the mass grave site, and also my Great-Great Grandfathers.  My Dad used to be super into researching our family tree, and he had me get him old newspaper articles of the fire when I was in college.  I should have gotten the rubbing then- but better late than never, yeah?

Interestingly, they also have educational tours- and that might be something I'd want to check out. And this would not be an adult only vacation.  For one, because going to a cemetery isn't really "vacationy".  And two, I'm sure I won't be by myself.  Kid(s) in tow, no doubt. At least one of them will squeal if they don't get to come along.

7. Fairy Dust Teaching Summer Institute.  And shush.  I love this woman.  I love her classes.  LOVE IT, I SAY!!! And you should too.  For realz.  All her courses are superb.  I don't care what grade you're teaching, if it's elementary, you can apply all of it. I've already taken four or five, and I just want MOOOOOORRRREEEE. So there. Don't judge.  Obviously it makes me happy.

8.  Take a road trip to Tennessee and meet up with some of my homeskillet peeps from high school.  It'll be Dollywood and Gaitlinburg all the way baby!  I was supposed to go to my 20th high school reunion in April, but I ended up spending all of my vacation money (it would have been an adult only trip too!) and the money I saved up to get smaller boobs (yeah, SMALLER, not all of us like losing half our bag of potato chips in a bottomless chasm) on something actually really super important so I can't be upset about it.  But I am, sorta. #horribleperson.  I'll have to take the kids with me this time, but that's fine.  We will ride EVERY.SINGLE.RIDE and eat sugared almonds and dippin' dots ice cream. Dear Gawd, the tickets are expensive though!  Maybe I need to make a Donors Choose appeal for this trip...
9. Practice Drawing.  I'd really like to be as good as my sister.  I don't have to draw the same way or int he same style, but I'd like to be able to draw and like what I drew. I suppose I will practice a lot, and take a class or something. Maybe. But shoot, those stick figures look easy!

10.  Make some fantastic clip-art packages and Readers with my sister for our TPT store. We have so many ideas- hopefully there will also be time to do them all!

And speaking of summer bucket lists- we just made up a blank booklet for my students- and yours!  It's fourteen pages, black and white so the kids can color, and has six different prompts for what they'd like to do over the summer and six corresponding pages to draw what they wrote about.  It's super cute, and only three dollars!  Go check it out!

So, who else is over-planning their summer?

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

How I Adore Kid President and Other Matters of Importance

Adoring Kid President is also a matter of importance.  In the last few weeks I've ran across two Kid President videos that move me.

The first is a documentary, in a sense, of who this young man actually is and how he is passionate about making the world a better place:

I think the words I took away most from this was "resilient spirit".  
And it also steals my heart how he's made this video to help out kids in poverty over the summer's when they can't rely on school lunch.  Watch this video- each time you like it or share it, ConAgra foods donates money to feed hungry kids.  And that definitely makes the world more awesome.
Have you heard about the Amazon Smile program? You can click on the picture to read their "about" page.  

If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can add a charitable organization to your profile and every time you buy a book or product that qualifies for the program, part of your purchase is donated to that charity.  I chose an Autism Research Foundation in honor of my oldest son who has moderately sever autism.  But there are tons of other choices!  And you can change your charity whenever you want if you feel like donating to more than one.  Just select a new one before you make a purchase.  If you feel inspired by Kid President, Amazon Smile does offer the charity as one of it's options.  That's the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.
My next thing of importance is that I have a really bad memory.
As in, I forgot to tell you all what the freebie of the week was over at the TPT store.
Luckily, there is still time.  Free UNTIL WEDNESDAY 5/28/14:

Update- because I'm a raging moron- the Summer Kids were last week's freebie. DUH.  This week we've got our Tropical Fish Aquarium set one up for grabs. Sheesh.  And I had drank my coffee and everything...

And my last important thing- I need some advice.
Can a second grade teacher who has only taught 4th, 5th, and 2nd make a transition to Kindergarten?  Am I too sarcastically awesome to do 5 and 6 year-olds? I'm thinking I need a change- but how much of a change do I need?
Go be awesome, kittens!
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Soul Soothing

It seems as though I am not alone in a ball of stress right now.  I've been reading posts and talking to teachers and there is a lot of lowness out there right now.

I thought this morning I'd post a song for everybody- give us all a little anthem for ourselves as we're going through the times we are right now.  Some of us it's school related, some of us it's personal, some of us it's both.

This song helps me, I hope you like it too.

Cheers to surviving, kittens!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Virginia Bloggers Appreciate Y-O-U!!!

Welcome to Virginia!

A lovely group of Virginia bloggers would like to show our appreciation of you by extending a bit of southern hospitality.  You can follow along the blog hop to visit Virginia teacher blogs for terrific teaching tips and fun freebies to help get through the last couple of weeks before summer break.


Well.  Hmmmm.

You know what- the end of the year is a super stressful time.  It might even be more stressful than the beginning of the year.  At least in September, there's hope and optimism and newness.  At the end of the year, it's all about proving yourself, and the clock's out of time, and endings.

So how do you stay centered and positive?

Tough stuff.

So here's my thoughts - in a clip-show format:
1) Stay Hydrated - click to read more

2. Do Something New and Fun
I got my first pedicure.  After sitting in a massaging chair with my feet in warm water and then having them massaged by a kid who was not going to talk to me or force me into a conversation- I thought- Why the eff haven't I been doing this every week?  So maybe we should change that from do something new and fun to GET A PEDICURE.  Go. Now. Run. Save me a seat.
3. Be Social
Ummm, and I'm going to admit I struggle here.  Because of, well, this:

BUT.  I am told by "professionals", yeah, ok, my therapist, that this is very important because human beings were not designed to be alone.  I suppose.  I'll go with it for now.  

They key here is just be selective about with WHOM you are social.  because you wouldn't want to be with someone that makes you think, well, this:


But don't get into a big ball of stress and then wallow in it by yourself. That's the point of going out with somebody and "hangin'. Yep - I'm so totally old. RAD.  there.  I'll make it even worse.

4. Hug somebody.  Let them hug you back.

Just don't hug anybody.  Focus, peeps.  Be selective. Or it's going to get awkward.

5. Exercise

Which I laugh in the face of.  Seriously.  It's safer to not move.  

However, again, "professional" advice says I need it.  And said professional also says EVERYONE needs it.  It like, makes you feel better or whatever.

Obviously, I lack the motivation for this.  I saw this picture today though:

No. Still not going to run.  But- I think I will be taking my sister up on an offer of trying a yoga class. But I need a kid yoga class, I think.

6. Meditate
In general.  I am uncomfortable with silence.  I was recently made to do this with a lot of people, and I found it nearly impossible to concentrate because I could hear everyone swallowing.  So, my tip- meditate by yourself.

We did do a really nice imagery exercise though, which I think in the long run is a good technique for releasing stress, and I think I might even put it into practice in my classroom.  It's a flying a kite meditation.
First, you do your deep breathing and then imagine yourself on a grassy hill and the wind is blowing.
You need to get yourself a kite, and you have to imagine what color it is, and what shape it is and what it's made out of.
Then you notice it has a tail with five ribbons.  Slowly, in turn, untie each ribbon, and write a message on each one before putting them back on your kite.
First ribbon- write your name and the first word or thought that comes to your mind.
Second ribbon - write the word love and the first word or thought that comes to your mind.
Third Ribbon - write the word worry and the first word or thought that comes to your mind.
Fourth ribbon - write the word hope and the first word or thought that comes to your mind.
Fifth ribbon - write the thing that is causing you the most stress and then the first word, phrase or sentence that comes to your mind.
Then fly your kite.  Fly it for as long as you need to breathe deeply and feel quiet.  Then- let the kite go and watch it float away into the clouds and disappear.
I did this one recently.  I thought I'd be annoyed the entire time, but this one, I got relaxed into.  No clue about half the things I came up with.  I wrote the word Goldilocks next to my name, to give you an idea about how random it seemed.  I'll be consumed with finding out why my brain thinks I'm goldilocks for the next week, to be sure.

But again- mindfulness.  Not a bad exercise to do with kids.

7.  Be thankful.

I found this neat post idea on how to make a gratitude web, in case maybe you think you only have one timy thing to be thankful for- you can make it into a whole page of things.

A lot of things had to come together for my morning cup of coffee. There is quite a bit to be grateful for!

Alrighty- hope you relieve some stress in these last days.  I've got a freebie cool clip art pack for you too- in honor of Virginia- our state bird, the cardinal life-cycle pack.  Enjoy!

***This Cardinal Pack is now available at our TpT Store for a steal! And has been updated with three new digital papers.  Click the pic to check it out!***

If that Google Drive Link didn't work- here, try DROPBOX   Update- I fixed the settings on Google Drive, but Dropbox still works too.

Love ya, kittens!

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The next stop on the hop is:

An Adventure in Literacy

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Field Trip- Number Two!

Yeah- proofread titles before rushing out front door.  Or maybe, don't post in a rush. Ugh.  There's a lesson somewhere.

Hey- I'm heading out to a Safety Fair where one of my former students is going to be running a petting zoo.  Want to tag along?  I'll be InstaTwittering all morning!  And then I'll come back here and update this post later this evening.  Beeeeeecccccccaaaauuuuuuse... I'm also having a special lunch and pedicure "date" with Flamingo Fabulous!  And it looks like I successfully nagged motivated her to start posting again. Hooray for peer pressure!!!

See you all live- orrrrrr in a few hours.

And I've returned.

It was a day- to be sure.

To do a run down- There was a safety fair at my daughter's school this morning.  It ended up being much more of a THING than I was expecting.  I thought there'd be a few people.  A couple of tables, a bouncy house.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. This was AN EVENT. 

First, roads were blocked off, and I actually hunted a bit for a parking place.  The air smelled awesome- there was pizza and a Strite's Donut truck there.

And I must pause for the Strite's Donuts:

The best.donuts.ever.  And if you are not from Virginia you must come here. NOW. to get them.  There is NO DONUT that can compare to these.  Ask Flamingo Fabulous, I already have her addicted.

"Hey, Karen, want to go to the Safety Fair."
"Umm, nah. Not really."
"Strite's Donuts is there."
"Let's go!"

More or less, that's how that conversation went.

Back to the fair.  Tons of freebies were handed out.  There were tons of tables.  Each time you stopped at a table, they'd put a check mark on a scavenger hunt paper that you could turn in for tickets to win bikes at the end of the day.  EVERYTHING - except the food - was FREE.  Amazing Great Day.

And now- a stream of photos. Adieu.

The tiny sign is what made me think it wouldn't be a big deal.

Freebies- and a bag to put all freebies in.

I taught this girl in 4th and 5th grade.  She was taller than me then too- but I love her so!  All grown up and an entrepreneur!

As excpected, Boyzilla avoided the pigs, but he loved the chicken. "It's feathery!"

One, he has an obsession with Fireman Sam- so he was all over this.  Two- I loved it that a Firewoman was running it.

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss- my bestie comes to visit me.  Sooo much fun!

They had me at "lobster".


I'll never escape the teacher face.  What the eff happened to the T in Restroom? Or actually- who was tall enough to crash into the sign to make all the letters go loopy? A giant who really really had to go bad.

My first ever pedicure.  Yeah, I know. I've been missing out.

Massaging feet, massaging chair, hot foot bath, hot rock massage- if I win the lottery, I will have this gentleman on speed dial.

I think the last time my toes were painted, I might have been twelve.


This is how it's done!

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