Saturday, September 7, 2013

SmileMakers Product Review

Hello Bloggers and Happy Saturday!

There is nothing better than surviving the week working hard all week and anticipating the weekend.

I'm here to tell you about an amazing website full of products for your classroom!

SmileMakers contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would review a product.  

Of course I couldn't pass this up!

They let me choose any product from their website, and let me tell you, it was a hard choice!

They have so many great instructional tools, resources, and engaging products for the classroom!

I decided on the differentiated instructional cubes.

They seemed to have so much potential in the classroom that I just had to try them! 

I received my package so quick that I hadn't even started school yet!

The dice have a plastic sleeve on each side where you can slip questions, pictures, or other paper for students to roll.

As I was waiting for school to start, I was day dreaming about all the ways I could use them.

I can use them for small group instruction in math or reading.
I can use them during our family morning meeting in a whole group setting.
I can use them in centers as well!

I really like that they come in a pack of three!  

This gives the teacher and students variety. 
 I can have an above grade level, on grade level, or below grade level dice.
Or I can use all three for one game or activity, such as build a word.

The pack saves me so much time!  

The students love to use them, and the best part about the product is that they are soft dice which makes NO NOISE!  
This teacher is one happy teacher.

(Enter deep sign and satisfied smile here.)

If you want to grab a set for your classroom, or look at all of the other amazing products from SmileMakers, click on their logo or picture below.  

They are having a great deal for teachers that runs until September 27th.  
Enter: SMILE25 at checkout.
Teachers save 10% off, plus free shipping with orders over $29 or more.  

Here are a few links for you to find great deals and products!

Check them out:

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Parent Communication Apps

Howdy Y'all!

Have you caught the technology bug yet?

Technology is continuously changing. 
 And it's hard to keep up.  
Especially in the classroom.

I went to a short training during staff development on technology in the classroom.

I found out about two great parent communication apps for teachers, parents, and students.

Have you heard of them?


These are both great apps, but they are two very different apps depending on what you are needing for your classroom.

They BOTH are a safe way to contact parents using your phone without giving out your phone number.  

Being a work-a-holic teacher caring educator, I know that if I were to give our my number to parents, I would "taking my work home" in the sense that I wouldn't be able to say no to those late night text or phone calls.  

I need to be able to leave work at the front door.  

Don't get me wrong, I do not mind sending a quick email or answering a question for five minutes, but I can do those things on my own by choice.  

If someone texts me, I would feel obligated to text back.  
Even if I was at dinner with my favorite man.
That's just who I am as a teacher, but I realize that's not always healthy. 

So when I heard about these apps, I was sold!
An advanced way to communicate without compromising my number.
(email is SO 2010!)

It took a while to navigate and figure out which one would be best for me as a teacher.

I'm here to save you some time!

Here's the skinny!

Remind 101!

Safe- Yes


Teachers can text parents- Yes
Parents must send a text to the remind101 app with your username in the message

Teachers can text students- Yes
Great for older students!

Parents/Students can text teacher- No
If a parent or student tries to text back, they will get an automated reply that says "You can't text your teacher!"

Teachers can text individual parents- No
This app works only as a one-way group message.

Teachers can sent picture images- No


Safe- Yes


Teachers can text parents- Yes
Parents must send a text to the celly app with your username in the message or they can create an account online.  Note: It's important for families to create a username that you will be able to recognize since you cannot see their phone number or name.   The Jones Family or Sarah's Mom would work well.

Teachers can text students- Yes
Great for older students who have questions about homework assignments!

Parents/Students can text teacher- Yes
This works as a group message system.

Teachers can text individual parents- Yes
Teachers can add individual usernames to an separate message as well as group message the entire class.

Teachers can sent picture images- No

There ya go!  
I hope you will be able to decide which app you want to use.  

I started with Remind101 but realized I really needed parents to be able to send messages back to me.  I switched over to Celly and feel comfortable with it.  

The only thing I hope they add to this app is the ability to send picture messages.
I think parents would really appreciate seeing their students in action as they learn.  

Any questions? 

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September Currently

Hi, my name is the Frizz.  You might not remember me because I have not blogged in a month, so I'd like to reintroduce myself.  I have frizzy red hair, love giraffes, and teach 2nd grade in Texas.

But seriously.  It's about time I get over this blogger writer's block.  

It's not that I have nothing to say.  It's that I have SO much to say, I have no idea where to start!  I've switched schools and grade levels.  I think this is true for all writing-but especially for blogging-the hardest part is the starting.

Thank you Farley for your monthly currently! 

1. My husband has started school again, and with that comes less play and more work....from the both of us!  The month of August is one of the hardest months for us because my summer ends long before his does.  While I am stressing out over where to hang my bulletin boards, he is relaxing by the pool. Arggh!  But by the end of August, he is in a frazzle to get back into the swing of things which makes me feel a bit better!

2. Three weeks into school and we have a day off! PTL!  It was much needed.  I was on the verge of a cold and was able to kick it by sleeping 12 hours on Friday night!

3. I am looking for ways to better my math instruction time.  We use Everyday Math at our school and I do a combination of Math Workshop/Daily Five Math/Debbie Diller Workstations.  Any advice that seems to work for you?

4. It.Is.So.Hot.Here.  ('nuff said.)

5. I did it! Now if only I can keep a good thing going.

6. Over the summer the hubs and I started a weekly date night.  It has been so much fun and a much needed dating refresher!

Working out seems to keep me level headed during all this stress!  I need the gym!

My last goal is to plan a girls night.  We always have a back to school teacher slumber party which is so fun! We spend HOURS just talking about all things teachery.  We make promises to hang out outside of school, but never make it happen. This year I want to make it happen!

I also want to start a girls night once Parenthood premiers!  
Anyone with me?

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