Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oh "Appy" Day-Tech on Tuesday: Virtual Manipulatives

Raise your hand if you hate pulling out manipulatives, because a.) The kids want to play with them, b.) the manipulatives fall in the floor and make lots of noise and inevitably one, two or ten of them get lost, or c.) it just takes so long to pull everything out!

Well, fret no more friends!  This app/website will be a lifesaver for many of you!  Virtual Manipulatives through ABCya.com has your answer to your manipulative woes when it comes to fraction bars, decimals and percents!  And the best part...it's FREE!

Available here through ABCya is a great tool to use when teaching students about equivalent fractions, comparing fractions, and converting fractions to decimals and percents.  You  can use it as a teacher to demonstrate any of these concepts using the fraction tiles we all have in our classroom, but ABCya has made the fraction tiles more engaging and easier to manage by making them high tech!  Another beauty of these virtual manipulatives are that the students can use them too.  Instead of students pulling out the "real" fraction tiles, you can have the app on an iPad ready for the student to use and manipulate right at their desks.

Click the picture above to check out the Virtual Manipulatives

A quick user guide is included to teach you and your students how to use the fraction tiles!

Click the image above for the iPad app!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oh "Appy" Day: Tech on Tuesday-Calm Counter App

I am constantly on the look out for calming tools.  I have stress balls and sensory bins galore in my room, but this app adds a unique and engaging piece to my collection of calming tools that may just help the kids that love technology.  It is motivating and easy to use, even for the youngest student!
Calm Counter is an app that is used as a visual to teach students how to regain their composure and to become calm again.  (PS...this works great as a technique/strategy to use with the Zones of Regulation curriculum that I love so much)
When a student becomes upset, we often use the strategy of counting to ten and taking deep breaths to help a student become calm.  However, some students need help doing this.  Some students just count and really do not connect the counting or deep breathing as a way to become calm.  This app helps to teach this concept.  The student keeps an iPad, iTouch, or other app enabled device at his/her desk.  When the student becomes upset, the student touches the screen that says, "I need a break."  The app begins counting down from 10.  The student touches the app each time he/she is ready to count down to the next number.  The face changes from red and upset on number 10 to a smiling face and a calmer color on face 1.  The final step is a deep breath and one more touch brings you to "All Done."   Visual and verbal cues are used on each screen, but verbal cues can be turned off in the app settings.  The app also includes a social narrative about anger and how to handle anger.
Screenshot of the changing faces in the app
Credit: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/calm-counter-social-story/id470369893?mt=8
The app costs $2.99 and is made by Touch Autism.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

It's September...already!  Labor Day is here, we've already been in school for 3 weeks, and routines are almost established.  Wow!  Where did August go?

I'm joining Farley from Oh Boy 3rd Grade for the monthly Currently! :)

Listening:  Any moment that I get to have the TV remote to myself, you can guarantee that I will be watching the Today Show (if it is morning) or HGTV.  I love having a weekday off so I can watch the Today Show.  My favorite part is Kathie Lee and Hoda, so I better hurry and post this so I don't miss any of their segment! :)

Loving:  I love my kids and I also love that they are old enough to take care of themselves.  I enjoy that they both can get up and fix their own breakfast, find something to do to stay entertained for a while, and get themselves up and ready to go in the mornings.  Sure,  I sometimes miss their baby days and there are times (everyday) when they need their mom, but I am thankful that they can be independent and not need me every second of the day.  I am blessed with great kids!

Thinking:  You know that routine I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  Well, it is slowly starting to get back together.  The beginning of a school year is tough around this house as I learn my new schedule at school all while learning my kids new schedules too.  Football, band, running, church, academic team, doctors appointments all have to be scheduled in the after school hours again and sometimes fitting everything in after 3:00 can be tough!  So, that sort of explains why blogging takes a back burner for me.  I really do want to stay on a blogging schedule and now that after school activities are beginning to have a regular time and day, then (hopefully) blogging will too!  How do some people do it all and stay sane?  If I figure that out...I'll let you know! :)

Wanting: Coffee!  I need coffee! :)  I'm in love with McDonald's Iced Caramel Mocha right now.  They are not good for any type of diet, but they are amazing! 

Needing:  I need this weekend to not end.  Three day weekends always come at the most perfect time.  The stress of the beginning of the year really gets to me some days and I needed this weekend to unwind and get my mind back on track.  Now...do you think we can make it last for just one more day? :)

3 Trips:
1.  Smoky Mountains:  I love visiting the Smokies!  The fog rolling in over the mountains is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.  I enjoy going to the mountains more than the beach and since we moved to Central KY we are closer than we ever have been before.  It is a short 3(ish) hour drive to the Smokies from here and long weekend visits are my favorite.  

2.  Disney:  During Fall Break last year, I visited Disney World for the first time.  It was iconic.  It was one of my favorite vacations and those memories will last a lifetime!

3.  Home:  My "home" is in Western Kentucky and all of my family still lives there.  I miss my parents, sister, brother, nieces and nephews.  I don't get to go home as often as I would like (partly due to that busy schedule mentioned earlier and partly because it takes 4 and a half hours to get there).  It's not just a quick trip there and back...it is a trip that has to be planned.  Maybe they will read this and come to see me ;)

Happy September, friends!!!