Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teaching in the One iPad Classroom: Part 1

Many schools and districts across the U.S. are moving towards more of a digital approach to teaching and learning. With that being said, many of us are making the transition very slowly, perhaps one iPad at a time. So I had a sweet blogger friend, Nicole from Teaching with Style, ask me for some advice on teaching with one iPad in the classroom. She wanted to know what apps she needed and how to use them with her iPad for instruction. So here you go Nicole and anyone else who is wondering how to teach in a one iPad classroom!

First, you will need some way to stream or mirror your iPad to your computer which is hopefully connected to your Promethean Board or Smart Board. Nicole was fortunate enough to receive an Apple TV to mirror her iPad. My school uses a program very similar called AirServer. It can be found for download {HERE}. Please note that you must pay for the license, but you can download a 7-day free trial to check it out. It basically does the same thing an Apple TV would do, but through your computer that is connected to your board. Your class will be able to see what's on your iPad on your board.

Once you have decided on a way to stream or mirror your iPad's contents, you will swipe up from the bottom of your iPad and choose one of the two options seen below depending on if you're using AirServer or Apple TV.

Next, you will need two different apps. There are many out there, but these are the two that I have found the easiest to use. You will need the Dropbox app and the Notability app. You can download them from the App Store straight to your iPad. Dropbox is an online storage system where you will drop documents that you will need to access on your iPad. You will put the documents into Dropbox using the Dropbox website. Dropbox is free unless you want to upgrade to a bigger storage capacity.

Next you will find the document you want to open in the Dropbox app on your iPad, then click the icon to open the file in the Notability app. See the pictures below.

Once you do the actions above, you will have to import the document into the Notability app next. It will prompt you with the screens below. Just choose "Create New Note" and then click "OK" to import the entire document (all pages) into the app.

If you see it in the list, you've done it correctly! Just tap the document to open it up and scroll through the pages.

If you imported a multi-page document, the first thing you will want to do is find the page you want to write, type, or highlight on. You can do this (more quickly than scrolling) by clicking on the icon in the top right corner to see thumbnails of all the pages in your document. Just touch the page you want to use and it appears!

Once you have found the page, you can touch the icon again to turn the thumbnails off so that the whole page is visible. Then you can have fun playing with the toolbar at the top of the screen for different options. If you choose the pencil, you can write, change colors, change strokes, the thickness of the stroke, etc. If you want to type, you can click the lowercase t icon and choose different fonts, colors, sizes, etc. I often type on the page, because it's difficult to write with neat handwriting on the iPad, even with a stylus. You can see an example of handwriting a few pics down. If you choose the highlighter, you can change colors and width. This is GREAT for marking up text or finding text-based evidence in passages! You can erase by choosing the eraser tool and dragging over what you want to erase. There are lots of options. Just explore them and play around with it to find what you want!

Helpful Tip: If you choose to write on the iPad like the picture shows below, I HIGHLY recommend using a stylus. You can purchase them for around $5-10 at most stores now. You will also want to use the screen by dragging the icon shown in the picture below so that you can rest your palm on the bottom portion of the page while you write. Sliding the screen up makes certain that you don't accidentally write at the bottom or scroll the pages using your palm on accident as you're writing at the top. It will make sense when you play around with it! You will move the screen down as you write further down on the page.

So there you have it - a brief introduction to utilizing technology in a one iPad classroom! I hope this has been helpful. I will be back next week with another idea using the same two apps shown above! So stay tuned! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm Back from Fall Break... with a FREEBIE!

This past week was Fall Break for us and I can't tell you how much our family enjoyed it! We didn't go anywhere {purposely}. We just enjoyed sleeping in, being lazy, watching movies, playing outside, and doing, well, not a whole lot really! Just what we had planned!

If you read my last post, you know I took a small break for a little while from blogging, creating, and social media, but I'm back! And I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to offer you a fun little FREEBIE! Don't you agree?

I know many of you haven't reached Fall Break status yet, but if you have, you know that your students will be DYING to tell you ALL the things they did over Fall Break. Well, how about we turn all those fun stories into an authentic piece of writing that meets the standards while killing two birds with one stone. Sound good? I think so!

{Click the image above or click HERE to download for FREE}

I created this fun little Fall Break Writing FREEBIE for you and your students. It contains a narrative writing prompt, a graphic organizer, and publishing papers (with both primary and intermediate lines). I hope you enjoy this little writing activity. If you do, please be so kind as to leave me some sweet feedback in my TPT Store. Please feel free to pin it and share the link to download with your friends! I'll be posting it to my Facebook Page as well!

I also have these other fun, fall products if you're interested! Click on each picture to take you to that listing in my TPT Store.

Enjoy! Happy Fall y'all! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Lost Time is Never Found Again

Hey friends and followers! Today I am writing in a much more serious tone than ever before on this blog. I haven't posted in a very long time and honestly I truly, truly miss it. I miss the sharing, the connecting, the friendships, and the sweet comments from all of you who take the time to read my blog. This post is not teaching related.

I've been a little absent from the blogging world for a little while and I've been barely keeping my TeachersPayTeachers Store current. I can be honest in saying that I have had to step back and find balance in my life. I am a very driven person and when I do something I tend to go all out and give 110%. Many times this has been a good characteristic for me. I've achieved success in many areas of my life for this reason. But then on the other hand, sometimes it takes a toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I make sacrifices I shouldn't make and put things on the back burner that shouldn't be placed there.

So for a little while, I had to take a stand and change that. I had to prioritize. For me, my #1 priority is and will always be my family and I needed to make sure that I wasn't sacrificing time with them while keeping my plate completely full at all times (as I tend to do). Second was my health and wellness. If you've been following me for a while, you know that I've gotten on quite the fitness/health kick lately. You can see more details of my journey {here}. This was important to me, but once again, I needed to find the balance between the gym, my health, my family, my teaching career, and my blogging/TPT Store.

I haven't posted many new products other than my newest line (Perfect Paragraphs One Step at a Time). I haven't blogged. I definitely haven't been posting on my Instagram account for 2nd Grade Stuff in forever. I haven't even logged on! For that, I am sorry, but then again, I'm not sorry. I am sorry to all of you who depend on us bloggers for inspiration and ideas. I am not sorry for taking the time to find the balance in my life that was much needed. That meant stepping away from the computer and social media for a little while.

The good news is... I'm back! This time around I refuse to lose sleep. There were times in the past that I would try to go, go, go on 3-4 hours of sleep a night and it took a huge toll on my health, which is what lead me to my fitness journey in January. This time around I refuse to sit at the computer for endless amounts of time when in all reality... it can wait or I can finish it later. This time around I will find balance in blogging, while still offering quality ideas, tips, and tricks without my blog being a permanent advertisement for TPT products. This time around I will maintain balance. This is a promise that I'm making to God, myself, my family, and you, my followers.

Thank you for continuing to stick with me while I worked to find this balance that was much needed in my life. This workaholic is going to slow down, enjoy life, prioritize, and share awesome ideas and products with all of you right here on this blog. I'm back and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with each one of you. Thanks for following along.