Tutorial: Landscape AND Portrait in ppt!

Are you a powerpoint-designing teacher at heart? Do you just love the ease with which the graphics fly over the pages of your ppt slides? Do you smile with delight at your ability to whip up the cutest little docs in a matter of minutes? Does your love of Powerpoint only stop when it comes to the fact that it's just not made to have both landscape and portrait in one file??

Well, there are a couple of ways to get around this, actually, and one of our very favorites is grouping. I say "our" because my bff sister Melissa (over at Fashion Craze, Learning Days) was the one who first showed grouping to me, back when she was starting out blogging. And we've both been grouping-crazy ever since!

Grouping is great! Not only does it allow you to change the layout of your slides, it also gives you some other great designing options. Would you like to learn more? Just take a peek at the video below...
Thank you for watching! Do you have any favorite tips for Powerpoint-designing you would like to share with us? :)

Technology for the New Year!

Hey everyone! I am linking up with the wonderful Kathleen from Growing Kinders for a resolution linky party...all about technology! That's my favorite topic (did you know that? haha!).

Before I get to my resolutions, here are some ways we use technology in class...some I've used for years, others are more recent acquisitions. All are vital to my teaching at this point!

Computer Projector and Document Camera
and speakers...sometimes. The computer projector comes from my school, we have a bunch and I am very, very lucky to be able to use mine every day. I've been doing this for years and really would be a wreck without it!

We project interactive websites, graphic organizers, student work...just about everything we can project!

And that's thanks to the document camera. I actually have two cameras I alternate between because both are great. The one shown above is the IPEVO (I know I've blogged about it a couple of times in the past--it's a great little affordable camera). I bought it because I wanted access to the camera every day, without having to share it (how unteacherly of me!!). I  love it!

I also use the Luna Projection Camera from Learning Resources (I blogged about this one last year)...
which is a really nice camera as well! Love both of them!

Our school has a cart of these wonderful computers and our class uses them as much as possible...and when we have them, we'll use them in all subject areas. Such as the stopwatch you see above...we used it for a science experiment this past fall.

We use websites, word processing, videos, pretty much anything you can do with the MacBooks.

Ok, on to the resolutions!

Well...have I told you this yet?? I finally got my iPad!! I absolutely adore it and have been using it for home/school, rather than lugging my precious MacBook Pro (I'm always worried something will happen to all my files when I bring it to school!).

I've only just started using the iPad in the class with my students. I've downloaded Storia and we've listened to a few stories...we've given Spelling City a whirl (we unanimously prefer the app to the website in our class!), and am on the hunt for more. Apps. And iPads, as a matter of fact!

Do you have any apps to share with a new-to-apps girl? Anything you love for your upper-elementary and/or EL newcomers?

My other resolution (besides finding more apps) is to get my iPad hooked up to the computer projector, so we can enjoy the use (and beautiful retina display!) together as a class

My final technological resolution involves Powerpoint, oddly enough. 
I've become very comfortable in using it to create printables for my class and store. Comfortable enough, in fact, that I'd like to teach my students to use Powerpoint when they finalize their nonfiction writing pieces later this winter.

We always word process these writing pieces and it's a great experience, but I have a bigger vision for this year! I want to teach the students to use Powerpoint and build their nonfiction pieces to look as a kid's nonfiction text would look...you know with the sidebars, fact boxes, photographs? Not as a slideshow, but as a work to be printed. 

I know it would be so much easier for them to manipulate this on Powerpoint. But it's going to take a bit of work to teach the whole class, so that is one big techy resolution for me this January!

Oooo...do you think I should make a video tutorial for my students? I wonder how that would work?

Well, if you have any advice/suggestions on apps, I would love to hear it. Thanks so much for reading :)

Affordable Dry Erase Board

Hi everyone...I wanted to thank you for the sweet words of wisdom the other day. I read your comments again and again. I cherish your advice and thoughts more than I can express.

I have a lot of little things to share from our classroom...and now we are on break so I can get started. :)

For some reason, I always find myself giving my room an uplift this time of year. Must be because that lovely month of organization is close at hand--January!

I've been looking around the room and re-purposing some items and downsizing others...like my old showerboard/dry erase board:
(That's an old picture...the board isn't looking so great these days, it's all markerish now). 

So one of our newest additions to the class is a new whiteboard...of sorts:
They're are actually little whiteboard panels I lined up and hot glued to our bulletin board. 

And do you know what they are made of?

They are those foam boards used for presentations, but with a dry erase surface! (Do you ever get an idea in your head about something, google it, and find that it actually exists?? Best feeling!). You can see them here: Elmer's Dry Erase Foam Boards.

These boards come in packs of two, are very light-weight, and can be configured in a number of different ways. The three lined up together are the perfect size for us to use for notes or with our computer projector...
(They're not as crooked as they look in this picture, I promise, though they definitely aren't perfect...I've been working on letting go of my type-A tendencies, haha!)

The dry erase surface is better than I even expected and erases very nicely (we use those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers). 

The only downfall? We have to be careful of the cracks between each board...if they get too much marker on them, they may not erase (since they're at the very edge of that foam board). We've talked about this in class and the students are great about not writing over the borders. 

I have some other plans for these boards, which I will be sure to share in the new year. :)

What do you like to use your dry erase boards for?


I've been afraid to break the silence and go back to talking about the silly little things I go on about here. My heart has been so heavy and my thoughts wrapped up in those who have been lost. At school, I've been focusing on enjoying each and every moment this week with my incredible students. 

I really don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said so much more articulately by many others in our blogging community. I do know my perspective is forever altered and I will always strive to keep focus on what truly matters, both in school and out.

Thank you for listening to my jumbled thoughts, dear friends. I will be back to share some new organization and files from our classroom very soon.

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary



My heart aches for those in Newton, Connecticut...my thoughts are with you.

Meeting Notes (file to share)

Confession time: Even though my All-in-One Teacher Binder from 2011 was a huge help for me last year, I actually never implemented it this year. 


I really have no excuse, except that I ran out of time...I got behind in things while planning for my new class this year. But I have to tell you, I feel like I'm becoming quite scattered without it. 

So, last week, I started to put the binder back together. And I hope to have pictures and items to share from it very soon. 

Actually, I do have one to share right now...

An updated Meeting Notes page! This little guy was a life-saver last year. For our recertification, we need to refer back to all of those PLCs and various other meetings and professional development and, if you're anything like me, it can be hard to recall all those little details discussed while you're frantically thinking ahead to the class you're about to teach in 7 minutes or whether, in fact, you will have time to make a mad dash to the restroom before picking your class up for specials.

So this is really just a makeover of the template that worked really well for me last year. The two boxes were the perfect space for the notes during the meetings, so I kept that the same. I did add in a place for the month at the top, so it would be easier to keep my notes sorted.

If you would like to grab a copy for yourself, the image below will take you to a download in my store...
In separate (but related news!) I am getting an iPad this week!!!!! As in Wednesday!!!! So I'm wondering if this sheet will become obsolete for me? I'm torn because I do love to jot down notes on cliparty paper...but the call of the tech is too strong I think!

How do you keep your notes from meetings? Computer? iPad? Paper? Thanks for visiting! :)

Fonts and Graphics by Miss Tiina at www.misstiina.com

December Classroom Calendar (file to share)

Happy weekend everyone! And Happy December!! I can't believe it's this time of year already...feels like we were all just planning out our classroom designs in the summer heat!

Well, speaking of classroom designs, I wanted to share a file for the month of December--as a thank you for all of the love and support you have shown for the Bright & Clear Decor I've blogged about these past months.

I'm hoping to share a new calendar set each month, if you are interested in downloading a different design each time. 

The calendar for December is made to coordinate with the Bright & Clear Decor series and features some bright lights (thanks to the fabulous designs of Maree Truelove!). I wanted to make it festive, but not too Christmas-y, so all could enjoy.

This calendar can be laminated, to be used again...

...and so you can share important dates with your students:
(the colors look a little funny--I could not find great lighting today!)

If you would like to download this file, it is in my TpT store...please click the image below:
Would you be interested in more monthly calendars like this? I'd be happy to share a new one each month. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Some fonts in this file by Miss Tiina at www.misstiina.com
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