Monday, July 21, 2014

OfficeMax TEACHER Perks

OfficeMax has, I think, the best rewards system for teachers than any other office supplies store! 
Here is why; Today I bought $80 worth of office supplies and I only paid $12 for ALL OF IT! I had a couple of teachers and friends ask how I did it, so here it goes!

  1. Sign-up for the OfficeMax Max Perks TEACHER REWARDS Card, you can either do it online or a store near you! I have provided the link below, click on: MaxPerks Teacher Rewards

So, for every $75 you spend, you earn $10 on your MaxPerks Card. They accumulate over a year, but expire every 3 months (quarterly.) As teachers we SPEND that and then some through out the year, why not get money back!
Also, if you PRINT all the time, for any used, empty, printer cartridge you RECYCLE at any OfficeMax location (any printer, any type, must be in good condition) you earn $2 on your MaxPerks Rewards Card. Today I recycled 3 so that added $6 to my MaxPerks.

2. Once a year they have EXCLUSIVE #TEACHERSCHANGELIVES offers, where you get special coupons in the mail plus whatever % off selected items at the store or online. (click on the picture to learn more)

3. They even have many grants you can apply for and even set up your class for "Adopt-A-Classroom" a way of giving back to school teachers! Here is the link to that info.

The list can go on and on! Click on the links I posted above to join or simply find out more! I receive many MaxPerks Teacher rewards all year long just for being a member , sign up, it's free and easy! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014 Wonderful Website for Parents & Teachers

When I think about the Internet or technology in my classroom, I think about how it will be beneficial and meaningful to my student' learning. I ask myself two questions:

  1. Are the activities meaningful?
  2. Will their learning be enhanced or reinforced about a unit of study, concept or skill?
For me computers and iPads should never replace direct learning and in my opinion, never, never, to learn about a new concept or skill. When my students use computers or iPads, I ensure that they are learning the majority of the time. There will be times, when we are learning how to manipulate QR codes and that may be the exception. However, whatever activity or app they are using is always connected directly to our unit of study and to the concept or skill we are trying to master. Most importantly it is differentiated. Websites are introduced, apps are pre-set, and in most cases students are assigned a specific activity that will reinforce phonics & phonemic awareness, comprehension, number sense, writing, or language development. 
One of my favorite websites that has differentiated activities for all kindergartners is
This website offers FREE ACCESS to ALL of their activities to ANY PUBLIC, PRIVATE, OR HEADSTART teacher. 
The teacher section is amazing! We have access to numerous math, reading, high-frequency words, pre-school skills printables and then some. We can even create our own printables, plus it has 6 levels of learning for differentiated instruction. 
You can build a class by groups or as a whole. Each student is assigned an avatar and their progress is tracked. Most importantly, you can build lessons with specific activities that will target a skill a student may need help in (phonics or numeracy.) I encourage you to use this website if you are new to using technology in the classroom and are uneasy about iPads or computers. Did I mention this website also has a TUTORIAL on how to use a "mouse" just for KIDS!

If you are a teacher, here is how to get started!!!

1. Go to and click on the school/teachers section. 

2. Select whether your a public, private, or headstart teacher. You will be prompted to create an account (it is 100% free if you provide a school email) 

3. Go to the teachers section and have fun building your class! I recommend you set up your teacher settings first, then student settings. Once that is done, go to class builder and enter your student's names. Levels can be assigned for differentiation!!! At the beginning of the year many of my Kinders are Level 2 or Level 3. Level 6 is the highest (end of kinder.)

This website is perfect for phonics, phonemic awareness, and number sense! Covers ALL Kindergarten foundational skills for Common Core Standards to include some of the Reading Common Core Standards for literature and informational text! I Love it!! Feel free to share or email me with any questions!

Because I love this website so much and use it!! I will also be giving away 3, 1 full year free paid subscription to 3 lucky kids!!

Comment below with "I want my kids to learn with" don't forget to leave your name (First and last) 

FREE GIVE AWAY: Comment Below! Winner randomly selected in 48 hours. (Monday 7/14 Night at 9 PM Mountain Time) 

SDE National Kindergarten Conference

This week I was able to attend SDE's National Kindergarten Conference in Las Vegas. I was a first time attendee and definitely going back next year. I had the opportunity to learn from inspirational and amazing experts in the world of kindergarten. I definitely have my mind set and excited about implementing new ideas and using new tools in my own little classroom that will engage and enhance my students learning! Follow along as I will be sharing step by step about everything that I learned, especially about technology use in the classroom! Don't forget to like or follow my Facebook page, tchr888. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I have an iPad now what?

Education is always changing, just how we aren't driving the same car from 15 years ago, we can't be teaching how we even "taught" last year! One big movement in education right now is technology use in the classroom! Technology has always been used though;

I remember the first time we had a computer while in grade school. I was in 6th grade, One BIG TAN BOX with the screen, the size of today's cell phone. The only thing we played or knew how to use was a game we ALL wanted to play. It only called for the use of the arrow keys and one of the function keys to "shoot/hit" what looked like a bat! Let's not forget overhead projectors, listening centers, CD players, and well now iPads!

I think iPads are revolutionary and have the power to impact and enhance a child's education if used in meaningful, engaging ways. My own 3yr old has had an iPad and an iPhone at her fingertips........well, since birth! These are the children that are coming into our classrooms. They know and understand how to manipulate, open, close, find, and search for games, apps, movies, songs. The list goes on and on!

Because they can do that better than probably most of us, allow me to share some tips on "Guided Learning" for any apple device (iPads, iPods, iPhones.)

I've been using iPads in my classroom for two years now, I have a set of 6 and I use them daily as a "technology" center. The kids love them, they are engaged and they are learning.  Although, I do admit that my first year using them was a little frustrating. Students would get out of their "learning activities" and find the "fun just play" apps or delete the apps. At the end the day I would have to reload or look for them............ugghhhhh that was one more thing I had to do! Until i discovered "GUIDED LEARNING" so here we go!

1. Organize yourself

I saw this cute idea on pinterest and had to use it! I bought this dish tray for $2 at Wal-Mart.

Plug in all your cords and and store them along with your iPads! I also have stylus pens for the little fingers to practice that TRIPOD grip! A silk cloth comes in handy at the end of the day to wipe 'em off.

2. Let Guided Learning Begin: SIX quick steps!

1. Open/Touch Settings

2. Scroll and find ACCESSIBILTY

3.  Scroll and Find GUIDED ACCESS

4. Turn it ON, Button will turn Green if ON.

5. You will be prompted to enter a  4 digit PASS CODE twice. 
USE something easy to remember.

You will use this code when you triple click on the home key to keep kids from getting "out" of the app they are using or keep them from changing settings on the iPads. It works well with any grade level! 


This process will have to be done to every single iPad individually, just ONCE. I suggest  using the same code for all of them. Starting and Ending GUIDED LEARNING requires the use of the code by pressing the home key 3 times (triple click!)

Now just open whatever app you are using triple click the home key, enter code, touch start! Viola, GUIDED LEARNING begins!

I have also seen other teachers "CROP" guided learning to certain tools within the app. Like with the app Explain Everything. This app is better for upper grades but still manageable with Kinders. Cropping the tools out with GUIDED LEARNING can be helpful.

I hope this helps and lets you have more peace of mind with apps and iPads in the classroom! I know it was a relieve for me! Happy Fun Sunday to all! Feel free to ask questions!