About The Author

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Alabama, United States
Instructional Partner, National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy, Graduate School Student, Social Media Promoter for VocabularySpellingCity, Promethean ActivInstructor and Social Media Council member, Avid Twitterer @WhiteheadsClass, 1st Vice President for ALNBCT Network Board of Directors, Certified ALEX Trainer

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year's


We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Enjoy these free, fun online games using New Year's Day words from VocabularySpellingCity.

~Cara
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Social Media Friends


As I prepare to presentation for the Alabama NBCT Network Conference entitled "Expanding Your Reach Using Social Media," I ponder what that really means.  As a teacher, it is fiercely important to give and take.  We share lesson plans, teaching ideas, complaints, and successes.  Social media has broadened my network of "teacher friends" to those across the country.  There are people I have met through this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Edmodo that have strengthened my teaching skills,  provided a continual drive for excellence, and encouraged me along the way.  We give and take unselfishly. (I tend to take more than give!) We are teachers first in order to educate kids.  Social media is not used to become "famous." It is used to make us better teachers, accountable to each other, so we can provide our students with the best education possible.  I am thankful for my social media friends!
~Cara

For more information on the Alabama NBCT Network Conference, please visit http://alnbctnetwork.blogspot.com/.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Extending Your Reach Using Social Media


On January 26, 2013, Farrah Kilgo (Think*Share*Teach) and I have the opportunity to present at the Alabama NBCT Network Conference.  This conference is not just for National Board Certified Teachers.  It is open to all teachers.

Social media gives teachers the opportunities to connect with others by sharing ideas, collaborating together, and contributing thoughts in order to effectively enhance their curriculum.  Our presentation will focus on how teachers can most effectively use social media to extend their reach professionally.  We will explore how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Edmodo, and blogs to their fullest potential.  

Farrah and I are avid social media users.  We are bloggers and Twitterers (@WhiteheadsClass and @KilgosClass).  Please feel free to follow us on Pinterest, too (Cara and Farrah).  Both of us use Facebook and  Edmodo professionally and with our classes.  

We look forward to you joining us for our session and in the social media world.
~Cara
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Monday, December 10, 2012

VocabularySpellingCity Holiday Lists


VocabularySpellingCity has holiday lists that your students can play for free! The games work great on your computer or interactive whiteboard.  There is even a VocabularySpellingCity app.  Have a great holiday season!



~Cara
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Winner


The winner of the VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Giveaway is Kathy Sather!  Thank you for all who entered.  If you are not a follower of VocabularySpellingCity, please do that now! We want to reach 1000 followers by the end of the year!


~Cara
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Schoolmaster School Management Software

I need your help! I am currently working on a project for graduate school where I have to review Schoolmaster. However, I am unfamiliar with this software and finding very little information online. If you are a Schoolmaster user, do you mind sharing some information with me? Thank you in advance! Pin It

Top 50 School Technology Blogs



What an honor to receive an email that says, "I wanted to let you know that we added Teaching...My Calling to our Top 50 School Technology Blogs at http://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/top-blogs/school-technology/ since we think your blog is a great resource for teachers."  When you view the other 49 blogs on the list, I feel inadequate! It is a great group!

My wish is that my blog would continue to provide quality technology tips to use in your classroom. Next semester of graduate school is not going to be quite so hectic, so I will have more time to blog! Thank you for your patience and this award!
~Cara
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Pinterest Contest to Win a VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership


VocabularySpellingCity is holding a super easy contest on Pinterest!  All you have to do is become a VocabularySpellingCity follower on Pinterest, and you are entered to win a Premium Membership to the VocabularySpellingCity.  Don't worry, if you are already a follower, you are entered.  The winner will be randomly selected using http://www.random.org.  The contest will close on Saturday, December 1, 2012, with the winner to be announced on Sunday, December 2, 2012, on this blog.



  1. Follow VocabularySpellingCity on Pinterest.
  2. Share the Pinterest link with your friends.


Many of you know that not only am I a classroom teacher, but I also work with VocabularySpellingCity in the area of social media promotions.  Part of my duties with the company is to maintain their Pinterest site.  I love to add pins that feature VocabularySpellingCity and how teachers are using the site in their classroom.  However, I also want to share teaching ideas, motivators, and blogs that are helpful to you.  If you have any suggestions on how to make the VocabularySpellingCity Pinterest better, please let me know.  Thank you for your support!

~Cara
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Technology Lesson Plans on Teachers Pay Teachers

I am working on uploading technology integration lesson plans onto Teachers Pay Teachers.  Stay tuned as more are uploaded. Also, you will find small group lesson plans for Scott Foresman Reading Street in my store.  I hope you find something you can use!

~Cara
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Create Talking Avatars Using Voki


Voki is an online program for creating talking avatars. My students loved Voki! Their assignment was to research a famous athlete and create a Voki of their facts.   Here is one example of a Voki that was created by one of my 4th graders.

 

The possibilities of using Voki in the classroom are endless.  You can easily embed Voki onto websites and blogs.  My students were asked to publish their Voki onto our Kidblogs.  How have you used Voki in your classroom?
~Cara
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Words from VocabularySpellingCity


As Halloween approaches, elementary teachers are always looking for ways to incorporate the holiday into our plans in a fun but educational way.  Try VocabularySpellingCity's Halloween Word Games.  Your kids are sure to love the online games like Hangmouse, LetterFall, and Match-It.  You can create handwriting printables, online spelling and vocabulary tests, and a variety of other handouts.  You can even create your own lists using your weekly spelling and vocabulary words.  

~Cara
Disclaimer
VocabualrySpellingCity has been instrumental in my classroom for several years.  By singing their praises, I now work with them in the area of social media promotions.  I would never endorse a product that I do not love!
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Creating a TripWow Photo Slideshow

My students recently read the story Grandfather's Journey.  As an extension to that activity, they created a TripAdvisor TripWow slideshow of a place they would like to visit.  In this activity, the students learn how to save a picture, upload it, and share a link.  Below, you will see one of my student's TripWows.


New York City Slideshow: Amber’s trip to New York City was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!



Take time to view other TripWows we created by {clicking here}.

I always post my assignments for my students on Edmodo. This way, the directions and links are always handy whether the students are at school or home.  Here is the assignment I posted for TripWow.


This is a 2 part assignment. Do not go on to the next part until you have finished the previous part.

Part 1: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Research that location using Pics4Learning. Save 10-15 pictures of that place on your jump drive. To do that, right click on the picture, and select "Save picture as." Change the location bar to "Removable Disk," and click save.

Part 2: Create a TripWow of your location. Click the link "Make a Free Slideshow." Login using the email address XXXXXXX@gmail.com. The password is XXXXXX. On the right hand side, select "Create a New One." Select your background. Choose "My Computer." Select "Click to Upload." Change the "Look In" bar to "Removable Disk." Select the pictures you saved. Hold the control key down while you click on them to choose more than one picture. Enter the location of your pictures. Fill in the "Customize" section. Click "Done," then "Continue." Click "Skip" on Facebook, email, and blog. On "Share the Slideshow with Your Friends," click on "Copy Link." Paste that link as a reply here. To do that, right click, and select paste.
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I created a generic email address to be used by all of my students.  This way, I have control of their creations, and the projects are all located in one place when I get ready to download them to share on our class website.  Remember, it is very important to share your students' work.
~Cara
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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Teaching...My Calling Is Named a Top Education Technology Site

What a thrill to open my email and read the following:

"I’m writing this to let you know about a list OnlinePhDProgram.org has published entitled Top 25 Education Technology Sites in 2012.


We poured through hundreds of worthy sites focused on education technology both in and out of the classroom, selecting our final 25 based on factors including readership, post quality, search ranking, and site age. I'm very pleased to let you know that your site has made the final list! You can view it here:  http://onlinephdprogram.org/2012/education-technology/

We consider the union of technology and learning essential to the future of education. Sites on this list offer everything from simple tech tips, to examples of how to utilize technology to help students learn in new and unique ways."


Top Education Technology Site 2012


I am truly honored! Although, my posts have been lacking due to graduate school, I promise that I am not going away.  I am making a vow to myself to post at least one technology related idea each week.  OK, I'll do my best!


Thank you to all my readers!

~Cara
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Monday, September 17, 2012

VocabularySpellingCity is on Pinterest


Pinterest lovers, VocabularySpellingCity is now on Pinterest.  You will find educational ideas, blog postings, lesson ideas, and helpful hints on using the site.  {Click here} to view their profile.
~Cara
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership


We are always looking for ways to make our school day run smoother, quicker, easier.  That is what a Premium Membership from VocabuarlySpellingCity will do for you!

VocabularySpellingCity offers online games, printable worksheets, flashcards, and more using your spelling and vocabulary lists.  They have precreated lists available, or you can create your own.  Be sure to browse the Teaching Resources section of the site to see what all is available.  I use the site in my literacy centers, math centers, to create vocabulary tests in curriculum areas, to provide flash cards as study guides and games, extension activities in science, etc.

As a Premium Member, your students have access to things such as exclusive games, online tests where the scores are recorded for you, individual student logins, writing practice where students can resume in their own time (Be sure they click "Resume Writing Practice," or their previous work will be overwritten.), and individualized assignments which are great for differentiated instruction. The cost for a classroom Premium Membership is only $49.99 for a year.  What a great idea for class donation money!

Although, I am a paid consultant for VocabularySpellingCity, I was under no obligation to create this post.  I have used VocabularySpellingCity for years before my relationship with their company.  I can vouch that a Premium Membership is well worth the cost.
~Cara
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Introducing Google Drive to your Students

My students collaborate on all sorts of projects and assignments.  Google Drive (formally known as Google Docs) is the perfect place for collaboration to happen.  Therefore, I felt it necessary to teach my kids the basics of Google Drive.  In this project, we simply created a Google Document that each student added information.  I wanted them to see the ability of adding to the same document at the same time.  

Here is the assignment as I posted it on Edmodo


Lewis and Clark and Me
Turned in (6) 
DUE: 
Sep 7, 2012
This week's story is about the expedition of Lewis and Clark. They explored the Louisiana Purchase. We are going to discover more information about their expedition. 

1)Using SAFE SEARCH FOR KIDS, research Lewis and Clark. Write down 5 facts that you learned. 
2)Open GOOGLE DOCS. If it asks you to log in, the username will always be XXXX@gmail.com, and the password is XXXX. 
3)Click on the document titled LEWIS AND CLARK. 
4)Type your 5 facts. You may change the font and color. Everyone will be typing on the same document. 
5)Once you have typed your 5 facts, click the TURN IN button on this post.
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Just a hint, you will need to create a Gmail account for your class.  This account and password needs to be accessible to all of your students.

You can view our document in progress by clicking {here}.
~Cara
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Remembering 9/11: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers


As we approach 9/11, my favorite book to share with my students is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Being a 4th grade teacher, I am now in the time where my students were not born when the terror happened. All the know is what they hear from their parents, on TV, etc. This book explains the grandeur of the Towers without the horror of the day. Below, I have embedded a YouTube video of the book. 



Also, by {clicking here}, you will have access to free online games using words from the book.  

What do you do with your students to honor 9/11?
~Cara
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Using Wordle With Your Students

Each week, my students are engaged in weekly technology projects.  These projects are extensions of our weekly basal stories.  My system uses Scott Foresman Reading Street.  Since I teach 4th grade, this project was based on Because of Winn Dixie.  However, you can easily adapt it to any subject area, grade level, or basal story.

I use Edmodo to post my projects to my students.  Edmodo is a safe, social media platform (much like Facebook), but it is only accessible by you, your students, and their parents.  There is no other contact to your students, unless you allow that by setting up different groups.  The weekly projects are posted each week on Edmodo, so students have a central location for all their instructions, links, etc.  They can even access it from home, if they choose to work on their project there.

The first project we did this year was Wordle.  Wordle is a word cloud generator.  It is very simple to use, so it makes a great first project.  Each of my students have their own jump drive.  In fact, it was listed on their supply list.  Here is the project posting that was on Edmodo:


We are going to be reading the section of the story where Ms. Franny meets the brown bear. In this assignment, we are going to learn more about brown bears.

1)Research brown bears on the Internet using Safe Search for Kids.
2)Make a list of at least 25 words that describe brown bears.
3)Create a Wordle using the words you wrote on your list.
a. Click CREATE YOUR OWN
b. Type your words in the PASTE IN A BUNCH OF TEXT box.
c. Click GO.
d. You can change the font, color, etc.
e. Once you are finished, you need to save your Wordle to your jump drive.
1. Click PRINT
2. Change the name of the printer to MICROSOFT OFFICE DOCUMENT IMAGE WRITER.
3. Plug your jump drive in.
4. Change the SAVE AS to REMOVABLE DISK E.
5. Click SAVE.
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Be sure and watch this post for examples of the Wordles that my students created.  They had a lot of fun making them!

~Cara
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Monday, September 3, 2012

VocabularySpellingCity App


VocabularySpellingCity now has an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app. What a great way for your students and children to practice their spelling words in a fun format!  Although, teachers and parents cannot log in through the app, the students' log in information allows them to access all your word lists. The app includes some of your favorite games like Hangmouse, MatchIt, and Which Word.  Your children can even take their spelling and vocabulary tests through the app.   {Click here} for information to download this cool app.

~Cara
Disclaimer: I am a paid consultant for VocabualrySpellingCity in the area of social media promotions.  However, I would never back a product that I did not love and use in my classroom.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Virtual Teaching Expo Question and Answer


Thank you so much for participating in the Back to School  Virtual Teaching Expo. I hope you learned as much as I did. I thank Teaching Blog AddictTeacher's Notebook, and Virtual Teaching Expo for the special opportunity to present to you.  If you didn't attend today, you can still purchase a ticket to attend at your own convenience. {Click here} for details.  Feel free to download the handout for the presentation {here}.

Since recording the presentation, a few changes have taken place.  I am now working again with VocabularySpellingCity in the area of social media promotions.  This is a fantastic website to aid in vocabulary and spelling instruction.  You can personalize word lists to play in a variety of fun online games.  Students can take their weekly spelling and vocabulary tests online.
Throughout my career, I have continually searched for the best technology tools that I could use.  I also use technology daily with my students.  We have such a valuable resource available at our finger tips!  This presentation only touched the surface!



  1. What technology tool can you not live without?
  2. How have you used technology to make your life as a teacher easier?
  3. Which webtool did you discover in the presentation that you can't wait to try?
Don't hesitate to ask me any questions about what you heard today or any other area of technology integration. I'll get back to them ASAP! I am currently enrolled in graduate school at the University of Alabama to obtain an MA in Educational Leadership.  Unfortunately, I have class today, so it may be a while until I can get back with you. Be assured that I will!  Thank you again for attending the Virtual Teaching Expo. It has been a blast!

~Cara
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Expo Giveaway




It is that time of year again! Many of you have already started back to school, or you are preparing to go back soon.  Why not participate in some online professional development focused on back to school?  Better yet, why not attend by winning a FREE ticket?  For more information on the Back to School Virtual Teaching Expo, please visit {here}.

It is super simple to enter.  Simply use the Raffecopter widget to share with us your favorite back to school tip, follow my blog, follow my blog on Facebook, and follow my blog on Twitter.  That is four chances to win one of ten tickets!

a Rafflecopter giveaway ...


You must act quickly! This is a one day only giveaway. It will only be open until midnight tonight.  The winners will be announced on Thursday, August 16, 2012.

~Cara
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Clean Your Dry Erase Board



My dry erase board was awful! I mean horrible!  There was a mixture of dried on blue, green, and black marker with large smudges and visible words.  Sorry, I didn't make a before shot, but I'm sure you can imagine it.  I searched for a solution, and I found it! Air freshener!


You heard me right, air freshener! I used a 97 cent can of Glade Apple Cinnamon spray.  The trick is to spray small sections at a time.  It needs to be sprayed fairly heavily.  As soon as you spray, wipe with an old towel.  It takes a little elbow grease, but the old marker comes off perfectly.  So, not only do I have a clean board, but my classroom smells good, too!

~Cara Pin It

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to School Virtual Teaching Expo



 

I have the honor of presenting for the Back to School Virtual Teaching Expo that launches on August 25, 2012.  I will be talking to you about free technology tools that a teacher can use to make his/her life easier.  Won't you join me?


By preordering you tickets, you will save $9.95.  You will participate in five presentations covering a variety of subjects like reading success, classroom decoration, classroom environment, and math journals for only $10.00! Find details of this great event {here}.


You also have the opportunity to help a teacher in need participate in the event as well.  By donating, you will receive a free ticket to the event.  Click {here} for more details. 


~Cara
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beat the Heat in Red Hot Month

JogNog's MasterMind Challenge is a great way to keep your kids learning this summer.  It is a free competition.  Students learn as they go, so no background knowledge is required.  You many want to even check it out for yourself! Don't forget to add your school or team name once you have created your free account. 
Mastermind


JogNog has been instrumental in my classroom.  By singing their praises, I now work with them in the area of social media promotions.  I would never endorse a product that I do not love!
~Cara
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

But, My Students Don't Have an Email Address!


We all find these great websites where our students can play games, create projects, or collaborate with each other.  The problem is that many sites often require an email address for registering and/or logging in, but our students don't all have email addresses.  Here is an easy way to solve that problem while maintaining privacy and control.

1. Create an email address using Gmail.  I gave mine an easy to remember name (4mrswhitehead).
2.  When creating accounts, students will simply use this email address with a + and their name or number before the @ (4mrswhitehead+tom@gmail.com).
3.  Gmail recognizes this as a separate email address, but all correspondence goes to the original email address.  This way, students are not allowed to email using this address, but they can register and login in for websites. Also, if anyone tries to contact a student, you have record of it.
4.  As far as passwords, my students all had the same password (school name and number). The email account had a different password that they did not know.  You may have to confirm accounts sent as emails since your students don't have access to the account.

This works for most websites.  I have found maybe one or two that do not recognize the addresses as separate accounts.  It has saved me a lot of hassle and provided the ability for all of my students to enjoy great sites.
~Cara
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Save Time with JogNog!



Many of us are already thinking about the next school year-new ideas, things to add, things to change, etc. I encourage you to give JogNog Quick Quiz a try.


JogNog Quick Quiz allows you to create an online quiz in literally 60 seconds or less.  The video below will show you how.   




Using JogNog's content of  20,000 study questions, you are sure to build a quiz to meet your needs.  Give it a try, and let me know what you think!
~Cara
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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Technology Tailgate



I am so excited about the opportunity to become a contributor for Technology Tailgate.  As you know, I am passionate about using technology in the classroom.  Technology Tailgate will be a gathering place for various bloggers to share what works with technology integration.  Take time to visit the blog. I know you'll learn so much from the posts!


~Cara
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Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm in Graduate School!


This has been a super busy summer! Although, I have neglected my blog, I am not going away!  I am currently enrolled in graduate school at The University of Alabama to obtain an M.A. in Educational Leadership.  This has been such a rewarding experience thus far.  However, I never knew a person could read and write so much!  All my free time is spent on homework.  This process is making me rethink things I do with my students and my faculty.  I'll definitely be sharing some of these things with you once I have a few extra minutes to blog.  For now, I've got to get back to studying!


~Cara
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Integrating Technology into Your Classroom


In April, I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Everything's Intermediate Virtual Teaching Expo sponsored by Teaching Blog Addict and Teacher's Notebook.  During my presentation, I had the opportunity to share with you how to effectively integrate technology into your classroom and introduced you to a dozen or so free webtools.  I also provided actual examples of my students' creations.

Now, the presentation is available on Teacher's Notebook for only $3.95. Yes, $3.95! Once you have viewed the presentation, feel free to question or comment {here}.


Happy learning!
~Cara
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Save Time with JogNog's New Version


JogNog has recently upgraded to a new version.


The newest feature of the site is called Quick Quiz which you can use to create totally free quizzes. You can create an online quiz or review game in three easy steps.  They say easy, and I mean easy.






You can choose questions from their library of over 20,000, or you can write your own questions.  Once you have created your quiz, you can then provide your students with a secret code to the quiz.  After completion, you have a custom review game or quiz because you can access the results through a report.


All you need to do to begin is to create a FREE account on JogNog.  Once you are logged in, go to the DESIGN tab.


Feel free to leave me any comments or questions you have about Quick Quiz.  I'll be happy to answer them.


Happy quiz creating!
~Cara
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Top 30 Most Fascinating Technology Teacher Blogs



I was recently honored as one of the 30 Most Fascinating Education Blogs in the category of Technology Teacher.  When you see the list of impressive bloggers, you will understand why I am so thrilled.  I am just a classroom teacher that loves technology. Thanks to each of you that voted for me.  I appreciate all my bloggy friends!


~Cara
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vote For Me!


accelerated degree
My blog has been nominated for the Most Fascinating Blog of 2012 in the category of Technology Teacher. I am truly honored! Would you take a moment to vote for my blog as the best? In order to vote, you will need to simply visit {here}. Find my link in the list under the Cast Your Vote for the Most Fascinating Technology Teacher Blog of 2012 post. You will need to click to view the comments. Click the G+1 button beside my blog name, and your vote has been cast. Thank you so much!
~Cara
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

JogNog Mastermind: The Meek Shall Rise



THE MEEK SHALL RISE. All ages from all over the world are invited to participate in the JogNog Mastermind Challenge. Answer as many questions as you can to win the JogNog trophy for your school. It is FREE to play!


To take part in the JogNog Mastermind Challenge:
  1. If you have not already created a free account, visit JogNog and click REGISTER NOW.
  2. Once you have created your account, log in and click your username at the top right of your screen.
  3. On that screen, make sure your school name is listed in the last blank. You are also able to customize your Nog avatar by clicking CUSTOMIZE.
  4. Select UPDATE MY ACCOUNT.
  5. In the search line at the top of the screen, enter H8BHKAR.
  6. You are ready to take the challenge!
Good luck!
~Cara
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Although I'm Not Their Mother


A friend had posted this on Facebook. Although, I do not know the author, I feel as if could have written the words. I think all of us as teachers can understand its sentiments. 



ALTHOUGH I’M NOT THEIR MOTHER
I CARE FOR THEM EACH DAY
I CUDDLE, TEACH, AND READ TO THEM
AND SAFELY WATCH THEM PLAY
I SEE EACH NEW ACCOMPLISHMENT
I HELP THEM GROW AND LEARN
I UNDERSTAND THEIR LANGUAGE
AND I LISTEN WITH CONCERN
THEY COME TO ME FOR LEARNING
AND I DO THE BEST I CAN
THEY PROUDLY SHOW THEIR WORK TO ME
I’M PROUD TO SHAKE THEIR HAND
NO, I’M NOT THEIR MOTHER
BUT MY ROLE ALMOST AS STRONG
I NURTURE THEM AND TEACH THEM
THOUGH MAYBE NOT FOR LONG-
I KNOW SOME DAY THE TIME WILL COME
WHEN WE WILL HAVE TO PART
BUT I KNOW EACH CHILD I’VE LOVED
AND TAUGHT
WILL BE FOREVER IN MY HEART!

~Cara
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Operation 2012-2013: My Goals for Next Year



As this school year winds down, I have been thinking of things I want to add and improve for the next school year. I would appreciate any ideas, tips, or comments you have as I initiate Operation 2012-2013.

  • Common Core Integration-We are moving into the Common Core Standards. Although, I am familiar with the 4th grade standards, I need to familiarize myself with the 3rd grade standards. It will be necessary to fill in the gaps for this group of students. Also, I want to make sure my current curriculum matches the standards and make appropriate changes if needed.
  • Better Writing Instruction-Teaching writing has always been a struggle for me. Often, proper writing instruction falls to the wayside because I just don't know the best approach to take. Over the summer, I plan to research various programs and find one that best fits my students and me. Any recommendations will be appreciated.
  • Daily Five Implementation-I am familiar with the Daily Five. In fact, I own the book! However, I have never implemented the program completely. My goal this year is to fully implement the program in order to achieve success in all of my students.
  • Revamp my Classroom Setup-My classroom is very small, and every inch of the space is utilized. I hope to maximize the space for easier flow, small group instructions, peer tutoring, and availability of materials for student use. I have found several ideas on Pinterest for storage seats made out of five gallon buckets, decorative boxes to store manipulatives and supplies, circular drying racks for displaying student work, etc. I've visited other classroom and gathered ideas. Also, I want to provide each student with a book box. I am still looking at various examples to find what will fit my limited space and budget most effectively. What do you use?
  • Include Math Notebooking-Throughout the year, I have been introduced to math notebooking through blogs, Pinterest, and presentations. It is a topic that I think would be very influential in math learning. We are getting a new math program this year, so I plan to incorporate math notebooking with it.
  • Do a Better Job with Science and Social Studies-This was a goal I had last year, and in my mind, I failed miserably. Due to a lack of time and a push for greater math and language arts instruction, my ideas of more project based learning activities, research projects, and hands-on experiments fell to the wayside. Students need to be immersed in science and social studies instruction.
  • Provide Social Media Opportunities for Students-My students are give many opportunities to integrate technology into their learning. A whole other area of technology integration that I plan to tackle is social media. My students use Edmodo on a daily basis, but I want to expand into Twitter, blogging, website creation, Pinterest, etc. Kids of all ages are already using social media, but no one has ever stopped to teach them appropriate digital citizenship. I want my students to know how to use social media responsibly.

So, Operation 2012-2013 is now underway! This is a long list but one that is highly attainable. Can you help me stay accountable? Throughout the summer, I will be preparing for next year's class. My students deserve the very best education that I can provide. 
~Cara
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