Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back-2-School with some fun Tech Ideas :)

Well, the time has come.  The alarm is set for 5:30 am, coffee cup is out and prepped, along with the same dress I wear every year on the first day of school {hooray for it not going out of style yet! WOOT-WOOT!}

The beginning of the year has totally snuck up on me this year.  I think I was having way too much fun over summer vacation to get myself mentally ready for the new year! Did I mention I was standing FEET away from this gorgeous specimen a few short weeks ago?

...and I may or may not have super imposed my face on a few of his ex girlfriend's bodies...

...and maybe some people he used to work with...

Hey, there's no harm in pretending, right?!

Getting back from vacation three days before the teachers headed back to school, I felt totally unprepared for my room set up this year.  When I began to feel my heart rate speed up, I reminded myself of those late nights I spent staying up until 2am working on new material for the upcoming year! I love when I forget things I so lovingly worked on during my time's like an early birthday present to myself {on a sadder note, a few weeks from now will be my last year as a twenty-something...#DepressionStartsNow}.

Anywho, I'm still putting the finishing touches on one or two things in my room, so I'm not ready for a room tour just yet.

Honestly, I cannot believe I am starting off the year with an unfinished bulletin board! I'm waiting on two packs of border I ordered two weeks ago to get here so it can be finished!  However, I am proud of myself I did not put up something temporarily and have to take it back down again making double-duty work for myself--trying to think positive here people...even though it's killing me my favorite area in our room is not yet finished--OCD on overdrive!!!! Deep breaths...deeeeeeeeeep breaths...

In the meantime, you can view last year's room in my post HERE to possibly get some organization ideas until my room is up to Perchinsky standards. :)

While I try and relax knowing that I have 20 shining faces coming to see me bright and early tomorrow morning, I'd like to offer some of my "Go-To" resources for the beginning of the year goodness!  Hopefully you can find use for them in your classroom this year, also!  I know we are all looking for some extra time savers from all the craziness that is the beginning of the year, so I promise these will not require a massive amount of work! You can thank me later ;)

Front Row Math Resource

 I'm not going to elaborate on this because I dedicated an entire blog post to it a few months ago {find it HERE}! Not only is this an absolutely amazing resource when it comes to differentiating math practices in your classroom, but it's FREE!!!!! They've added some amazing new features so be sure to check it out for yourself--if you don't try any of the other resources listed here, you've got to get this one!

ScootPad: Math and/or Reading Resource

I love ScootPad because it's naturally differentiated for each student.  There are paid and free subscriptions for this site {and free App}, but I've been using the free one for about 4 years now, and it does the job just fine.  Students earn coins based on the number of correct answers they get for each session.  I've set up a class "bank" where students can use their coins to purchase classroom reward coupons! They love being able to buy things online.

I doubled everyone's coins at the end of the year last year to help give them a little more incentive to continue working.  This year, I may decide to double them at the end of every nine weeks.  We'll see how this year's class does with it before I put my foot in my mouth.  We may be having too many vacation days for my liking...

Class Dojo

This app is what you make of it honestly.  If you use it to fidelity in your classroom, it will work wonders for you!  If you only use it from time to time, the kiddos aren't going to care too much about it to make it work.  I require my students to earn AT LEAST 5 points each day--these are taken from class participation, homework completion, clean work area, staying on task, helping others, etc.  At the end of the week, students must have 25 points or more to participate in 30 minutes of Fun Friday Time!  This year, I think I'm going to allow the students to use their points to purchase items from our class prize box {I've used this Classroom Bingo board in the past and have LOVED it, but I need a little switch-up to keep my their interests going :) }

GoNoodle for Classroom Brain Breaks!

I love this site for brain breaks so much I also did an entire blog post about it HERE! It's great for when you don't have access to Youtube {or if your school puts a block on it}, or when you're pressed for time.  Some of these I can drag out for both of our daily 5 brain breaks (we do three rotations each day and take a 2 minutes break in-between where we're up and active to keep our brains and bodies moving!}


LOVE LOVE LOVE KAHOOT!!!! My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE IT TOO!!!!  It's super easy to use and gets all of your little ones engaged!! You can use this interactive site for literally anything!  I'm busting this out Friday to "quiz" my new friends on our new classroom (rules, expectations, procedures, dos and don't, etc.)  You can read more about Kahoot HERE.

If you weren't wowed by any of those babies, here are some AWESOME digital learning apps that are so easy to use even your Kinders can use them!  

Animoto and Adobe Voice are very similar, but I think Adobe Voice is a little cuter :)  

I will be using Adobe Voice this year to make my "Meet the Teach" video for the kiddos on the first day.  My husband says, "Why can't you just tell them? You'll be standing right there..." If you're not a teacher, you just don't get it... I'm also planning on having my new friends compile one based on a new friend they made this week {I'm keeping my fingers crossed doing this on the third day of school, but it's that simple I'm pretty sure they're going to pick it up with no problem}!  You can watch a quick video on adobe voice HERE to get a better understanding of how it works-- Oh, and it's free, too :)

Popplet is a digital "web" you can use for science, vocabulary, math...pretty much whatever you want!   You could use at the beginning of the year for your classroom rules dos and don't s, sequence what you do in the morning, how to pack up at the end of the day, etc. I was introduced to this app later in the year and haven't used it as much as I would like but plan on using it a ton this year since the possibilities are literally endless! Did I mention it's free? Yeah, it is. :) Watch a short clip HERE to check it out!

Sock Puppets and Toontastic would be cute to go over your classroom rules and produces for the first time with your new students!  I have used this in the past for fluency readings and for students to explain specific reading and math skills and it is oh so cute!  Students could use it too to explain some fun facts about their new classroom! Both apps have free or paid subscriptions to choose from.  I use the free ones in my classroom and I really don't think we're missing out on anything.  However, if you are lucky enough to get an iTunes gift card from one of your fabulous parents or principal this year, I say buy it up!  Here's some video clips for you to see the awesomeness in action {SockPuppets HERE -- Toontastic HERE}

App in action--isn't it adorable!?

ToonTastic--it is just way too much fun!

As the year goes on I'll be sure to share some other fabulous apps and online resources we use on a daily basis, but thought these ones were the most important to get you set up for the beginning of the year!  I've been working on updating our classroom webpage, which is an entire week's worth of work in itself but I'll be sure to share others I feel are worthy of taking a second look at. :) I'm really, really, really going to try to post something each week that has been helpful to myself or my littles so be sure to check back for some other exciting resources that don't require four hours of prep work!

 I hope everyone has a great back to school week {if you haven't started already} and enjoy the first day of school--you only get one each year so make it count!  I added a new print to my room this year for a great reminder of why we do what we do everyday- sometimes we get so caught up in the politics and chaos of it all that we often forget why we became teachers in the first place!

Have a fabulous week!


  1. Hilarious photos with Justin! I was nominated for the Liebster Award for fresh bloggers. I wanted to share the favor and nominated you. See my blog post to see how to accept.