Friday, November 29, 2013

Family and Blabberized Turkeys!

Hi Friends,

How was your Thanksgiving?  I hope it was as wonderful as it can possibly be for all of you.  I have so much to be thankful for but mostly, I am ever so thankful for my family.  I don't know what I would do without them!

I also wanted to share with you a little project we did at school this week.  We had so much fun with the the entire project that it really helped the three days go by SO fast!  First, the children had to complete a writing piece.  they had the choice of a Thanksgiving acrostic or a persuasive piece.  Most chose the persuasive writing.  For this, they had to pretend that they were a turkey (of course!) and persuade someone NOT to eat them for Thanksgiving.  These were hilarious!  The acrostic poems were not as funny but they were super, super sweet.

The next step was to make these tissue paper turkeys.  Everything but the tail feathers were colored with crayon.  Then, we used little squares of tissue paper, wrapped it on the end of a pencil, dipped it in glue and VOILA!...a super cute, 'feathery' turkey.

Once both of these steps were complete, I took pictures of all of their turkeys.  While I was doing this, the students were reading their pieces out loud to a partner.  They worked on their reading fluency and expression.  I'm telling you, the skills that were covered in this little project were unbelievable!

The final step was to upload their turkeys into Blabberize.  If you have never heard of this website, it is a must see.  Basically, you find a picture or use one of your own and upload it to the site.  Blabberize gives you the ability to make your picture 'talk'.  It is unbelievably cute!  The student sat with me while I adjusted the mouth size and placement.  Then, I recorded each child as they read their piece out loud once again.  We did a quick play back to make sure it came out okay, saved it to 'My Stuff' and moved onto the next child.  I was so impressed with the way they handled themselves during this part of the project.  All I had to say was "Recording now" and they were absolutely silent.  Every student had the opportunity to record without interruption from the polite and respectful!  If you'd like to see Blabberize in action, click on the picture below.  The possibilities are endless!

Hot Dots Review

Hi Friends,

Today's post is a follow up to a product preview I did over the summer.  Well, I'm very happy to report that the Hot Dots are a HUGE success.  The set I chose was the Academic Vocabulary Cards - perfect for the Common Core!  It is the number one Word Work choice in my Daily 5 stations.  Even better than that is the fact that I see most of the kids actually reading the cards!  They are not just using the pen randomly on all of the dots.  Here's a picture of one of my kiddos totally engaged in his activity...

Other than it's popularity with my kiddos, the product itself is one of very high quality.  The cards are made of a durable card stock and they are neatly organized into categories within the box.  My students are able to keep the set organized and well maintained.

The pen itself is what makes the activity so engaging.  There is immediate feedback on their answer choices and the voice they hear is not annoying (teacher friendly!).  The students can also turn off the voice and just use the lights - green for a correct answer and red for an incorrect answer.

Overall, I am very satisfied with Smile Makers and their Hot Dots product.  Thanks, again, to Marcy for contacting me this past summer.  I look forward to doing more business with this company.

Have a great school year, Everyone!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Classroom Reveal...Way Late!

Hi Friends,
    I finally have my classroom photos ready to share.  Thank goodness my classroom was actually ready two weeks ago as I started school on August 28th!  :)  I really enjoyed getting my room ready this year because I found SO many cute things that I purchased or even better, were free.  I'll highlight those items for your shopping pleasure.  ;)

   I'd like to start with my classroom library.  I spent a HUGE portion of my time this summer reorganizing my library.  It has bothered me for quite a few years but it was actually old age that got me motivated.  You see, I've begun purchasing books that I already own.  It happened at least six times just this past year.  So I threw up my hands in disgust and got right to work.  First, I searched for an app that I could use to scan my library.  I chose Book Retriever and I am very happy with it.  The only downfall is that you can not input 'where' a particular book is specifically located in your library.  But none of the apps that I came across had that feature.  So I told my son to build me an app that did...he's a senior in college so I don't expect it anytime soon.  :)

The photo above shows my leveled books section.  We are still using Guided Reading levels but I've heard grumblings about changing to Lexile levels...uggh!

These are my reading baskets which are organized by theme, author, series, etc.
Our bucket filling station
My favorite Pinterest-inspired summer project

The next three photos are featuring Reagan Tunstall's Chalky Classroom Garden Decor pack.  I love the way her alphabet and ten frames really pop off the wall.  The matching table signs make my life much easier as well.  I highly recommend that you check out Reagan's blog.  She is famous author of Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.

The picture above is something I made on Vista Print last year but forgot to share... :)

My word wall was purchased from Erica Bohrer.  She has fantastic stuff which is clean and crisp.  I'm not a fan of visual clutter and Erica's products fit me perfectly.

Here are a couple of bulletin boards that are pretty plain right now but will fill up soon.  I wanted to show you the black and lime green color scheme.  I love it!

I finally got my manipulatives labeled...most of them, anyway!

Cuteness for the erasers and pencils, plus my adorable babies! NOTE: Do not be fooled by the air conditioner in the background.  They use my room for summer school and then yank it out right before the new year begins.

Rewards poster that goes with ClassDojo - my favorite behavior management system ever!

I used scrap booking paper and sticker letters to jazz up my iPad containers.

Here are my milk crate seats which now need a makeover to match my color scheme.  The rug came through a Donor's Choose project.

And of course, my classroom would not be complete without the girls.  Daisy and Lilly came to us through a Pets in the Classroom grant.  Best thing I ever did.  These piggies have brought so much to our learning and classroom community.  You can read more about it here.  We love them so much!

Lilly loves her hay!
Daisy loves the camera and being the center of attention!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Product Review Peek

Hi Friends,

     About a month ago, I was contacted by Marcy over at SmileMakers.  I was very intrigued because it was the first time I had been approached to do a product review.  I was told that I could chose ANY item from their store so I went shopping...for FREE!  I clicked on the link that Marcy left for me and I have to say that I was happily surprised.  I had never heard of Smile Makers so I guess I wasn't expecting too much.  But there was quite a selection to chose from.  I had a difficult time deciding which product I wanted to review...that is, until I came across these little gems!

     I have seen the Hot Dots pen and cards mentioned on so many blogs that I knew immediately that this was the product I needed to try.  I sent my choices back to Marcy and she took care of everything.  The package arrived VERY quickly and I was impressed.
    Unfortunately, it's still summer vacation so my kiddos have not had a chance to use these goodies.  I prefer to write a review after I've seen it in action so this is just a peek.  I'll be back in a few weeks with the complete review.  Thanks to Marcy for being so easy to work with and to Smile Makers for getting in touch with me.  

Talk to you soon,

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to School Blogger Exchange!

Hi Friends!

     Life is good! The weather is beautiful.  I accomplished a good amount in my classroom today and my bloggy buddy's package arrived today.  Isn't life wonderful! :) 

First, I want to thank Jessica From Covered in Glitter and Glue and Katie from Adventures of Ms. Smith for organizing this fun, back-to-school treat.  She did an awesome job pairing us up.  Sarah, from Mrs. Jones Teaches, and I have so much in common - right down to our classroom color scheme!

Now, on to the really fun part...the package!

I couldn't wait to tear it open.  I haven't gotten a fun package in a very long time!

Right away, I knew we were a perfect match.  The colors just jumped right out at me. :)

Look at all of these wonderful goodies...

I especially love the homemade frame and post-it holder.  Just so darn cute!

The little personal touches made me smile.  There's just nothing like connecting with someone who totally gets what it's like for us teachers. 

And I can't forget these goodies.  Sarah didn't know it but I go through MANY of these during the school year.  Thank you, Sarah!

So if you don't know my new bloggy buddy, Sarah, just head on over to Mrs. Jones Teaches and become a follower.  And Sarah, thank you so much for EVERYTHING! I completely enjoyed our Back to School Blogger Exchange!!!  Have a wonderful year with your kiddos.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Made the Switch to Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin by clicking on the beginning of this sentence.  :) I don't know how you all make it look so cute but I'm learning!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Blogger Meet Up in RI!

Hi Friends,

I'm so excited to spread the news about a blogger meet up right here in Little Rhody.  My new friend, Kayla, from Meet Miss Parker is organizing everything and I truly can not wait.  It will be held on July 10th so if you are anywhere near Newport, RI on that day, I would LOVE to meet you.  You can either send Kayla an email through her blog or simply contact me and I will forward the information. I've been reading about these meet ups on the other side of the country and they are always having so much fun.  It's about time the East coast joins in the fun, don't you think?  Looking forward to meeting new friends!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blog Makeover

Hi Friends,

Do y'all know Christi from Ms. Fultz's Corner?  Do you know that she is a hugely talented blog designer as well?  Well, I'm telling you now because if you don't know Christi, you definitely should!  Besides blogging on Ms. Fultz's Corner, she is also the owner/author/designer of Designs by Christi.  Check out her portfolio - It's AMAZING!

 Well this fabulous teacher is responsible for my new look.  I absolutely LOVE it.  Don't get me wrong - I loved the work that Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files did as well.  But I was ready for a change and I'm so happy that I took the plunge!  I even considered changing my blog name because I didn't want the Grease theme anymore but I was too chicken to do I just shortened it.  My URL is the same (which I hate typing, it's sooooo long!)  But isn't my blog so cute?  I love, love, love everything!  I especially love my avatar...I haven't been that thin in...well, ever!  Ha! Thank you, Christi.  You're the absolute best!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Currently

Hi Friends!
It's been forever and a day since I've participated in Farley's infamous Currently parties...although I have enjoyed reading others' posts in my absence.  :)  So here goes...

Me and my girls?  WELL, we are huge country music fans and Luke Bryan is at the tippity top right now.  We are super excited to be going to his concert tonight right here in close to my house.  It's the best!  We've even gotten my son and a couple of his friends joining in the tradition this year so it'll be a blast...can't wait!

Loving my kids home?  You bet!  I have three fantastic kiddos and having them all home at the same time just fills my heart.

The summer to-do list?  When I said I have to get going, I actually meant that I have to write one...YIKES!

Wanting the school year to be over?  Enough said.

Hi, my name is Dianne and I am a BAD blogger.  :(  Months go by in between my posts, it's just awful.  I don't know how it happens but it does...on a pretty regular yes, it's a goal this summer.

The three vacay essentials?  My husband...for sure!  We have so much fun together that I just can not imagine a vacation without him.  My iPad goes everywhere...non-negotiable...much to my husband's chagrin...good thing he loves me!  And the TLC is probably a given for everybody but it's also the reason why I don't go camping for vacations.  I want to be taken care of and camping is just TOO MUCH WORK.

So now it's time to join the fun.  Click on the image below to get the details and link up.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Some Instagram Fun!

Have you heard of it?  Do you do it? I'm just getting started but to be honest, I actually created my account a few months back and then did...NOTHING!  Sometimes I just can't stand myself.  Anyway, two fabulous teachers started this linky party and I want in - so here goes...

Natalie and Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants and Michelle from Apples and ABCs decided to throw a #teachertalktuesday party on Instagram.  So here's what you'll need to do:

Link up by clicking on this photo!

1. If you have a blog, share your instagram username on your blog and use this image to tell your followers about #teachertalktuesday {just right click on the instagram button and click "save as"}.   
2. Link up with a blog post, sharing this image,  your user name, and a couple of your favorite Instagram photos, if you want!
2. If you don't have a blog, you can still join us on Instagram on Tuesday for #teachertalktuesday.

You can follow me on Instagram by clicking on the photo below or the little button on the right sidebar.  You can also look for me under @hopelesslydevotedtoteaching on Instagram.  

Now go link up and enjoy the party every Tuesday!  Don't forget to add the hashtag #teachertalktuesday to your photos to be part of the fun.  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm a Rhode Island Blogger!

Hi Friends!
   I'm linking up with Diane at Fifth in the Middle and I'm proud to say that I am a Rhode Island blogger.
Fifth in the Middle
 She has an awesome idea to organize us all by regions.  I think this is fantastic because I've been ever so jealous of all the blogger meet ups I've been reading about in blogland.  Everyone looks like they're having so much and making wonderful new friendships!  Please consider linking up.  It just seems like an excellent way to network with each other. If you decide to link up, Diane has made cute little buttons to display on your sidebars.  Check out the RI one over to the it!  Click here to link up and thank you, Diane, for the idea and the work you put into it.  Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

SDE Conference: New England Power Up!

I was fortunate enough to attend a wonderful conference in Springfield, MA last week. It was a two day technology conference and I loved every minute of it! I have a binder full of information and ideas but I've chosen just a few to get me started. I know that if I try to do it all, I will end up doing nothing. Many years of experience have taught me that. :)

First, I'll start small. Sum Stacker is the name of a math app that I really, really liked. It does cost $2.99 but I think it's well worth it. It encourages mastery of basic facts in a variety of visual formats and modes, but more importantly, it requires strategizing and thinking on your feet. The kids have responded very well Sum Stacker, which brings me to my next technology goal.

I have finally figured out how to project my iPad on the big screen. It only takes a VGA adapter which is about $35. I used it for the first time when I was teaching the kids how to play Sum Stacker. Oh my God! It was SO much better than just holding up my iPad for all to see.  Click the image below to connect to Amazon.

My third goal is to start a class blog.  One of the workshops that I attended was hosted by a wonderful teacher from New Hampshire.  Her name is Laureen Reynolds and her use of technology in the classroom is beyond compare!  Check out her work at The Bulletin Board.  So I looked at KidBlog and Edublog for a hosting site.  Both offer a safe, kid friendly environment but I felt as though Edublog offered more choices and controls.  I created a class blog called Pencils, Projects, and Pigs.  I'm still customizing it and drafting a letter to the parents.  I strongly feel that students should have parental permission and supervision before they enter the blogging world.  But I am super excited about the kids having an authentic audience for their writing.  I have so many ideas that I will be happy to share when they come to fruition.