Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Product Review: Sanford, the makers of Sharpie

I was recently sent some of Sharpie's latest items to try out and I have to say, I LOVE them!  I'm already a fan of Sharpie markers and pens, but these new additions are fabulous.  My friend and colleague is an artist and currently working on marker skills.  So, dressing up these sunglasses with the new Neon Permanent Sharpies was right up her ally.  She did a fabulous job.  My daughter loved this pair so much, she copied the designs onto her own pair of white sunglasses.  I used the markers for my new exit ticket poster as well.  A post on that is coming next week. 

As an educator, I think I'm a bit of a writing utensil connoisseur.  I'm always looking for great writing items, especially pens.  This Sharpie Premium Pen writes like a dream.  It has a nice weight to it so it sits nicely in your hand.  The lid fits snugly to the end and extends the shaft for an easy grip.  Best of all, it writes like a dream.  It rolls very smoothly and writes a nice, thin, even line. For the quality, I was actually quite shocked at the affordable price of this great pen. 

Finally, I was able to try out the Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers in silver and gold.  These are great to use around the classroom for labeling.  I labeled one of my pencil sharpeners using the silver marker with "No Colored Pencils" in an effort to keep it sharper with just regular lead pencils .  Unlike other metallic markers, you don't have to shake the Sharpie's to get them flowing.  You get the metallic ink without the shake and glop. They work fabulously on the black paper as you can see below.  

What are your favorites from the Sharpie line? What other writing utensils are your favorites? 
Be sure to stay tuned and be following so you can see how I used the Neon markers for my Exit Ticket board.  I'll be sharing my new-found math routine with you next week. 

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The items reviewed in this post were sent to me free of charge as a condition of posting a review of the products by Shoplet, an online office supplies store.  The opinions and use of the products are all genuine and are in no way swayed by Shoplet or Sanford. Check out the promotional products, promotional shirts and office stationary at the Shoplet store. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Teacher Training Bootcamp Gmail Tasks

I recently started some self-learning about Google and all this technology company offers in various tools, apps and platforms that can make teaching easier and fun for teachers, students and parents.  My district transitions to using Google products for our email and online tools like teacher webpages.  I've been wanting to know more and Google's lessons have sure been useful in that goal.  There's so much I didn't know about and a few things I did know about, but hadn't taken the time to understand so I could utilize them.  One of these tools is Google tasks.  I knew they existed, and have used them once or twice with my Google calendar.  However, I didn't realize how well they interface with Gmail.

Did you know with tasks in Gmail you can:

  • Create Lists
  • Set due dates
  • Add details or notes
  • Add an email message to a task
  • Check items off as you do them
  • Decide whether to view done items or not

Here is a video that explains some of the features of using tasks within Gmail.

Jen from Tech with Jen is hosting this bootcamp hop
Be sure to follow our blogs and FB pages.  We'll be bringing you posts about the features and platforms Google offers that are useful for teachers about every two weeks through the end of May. 

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See other posts about the features of Gmail by clicking the links below:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Using Spotify in the Classroom

I have begun using the music website Spotify in my classroom.  You might liken it to Pandora or even itunes. Like Pandora, you can pay for an upgraded version without ads.  The advantage of Spotify is the ability to choose the songs you want and create your own playlist.  With Pandora, you can choose only a genre or type of music, not the specific songs that are played.

On Spotify, you may follow other users and their playlists, drag and drop songs from a friends playlist into your own, or create your own playlists from scratch.  You can play one song at a time, or play the playlist so your songs will automatically play on to the next one.  You can also set up a song queue so you can play songs from multiple lists or listen before you place them into a playlist.

My district music specialist introduced me to Spotify and has some great playlists that would be a great start for educators.  You can find her page here.  She also has a great musical education blog full of ideas called My Musical Magic.  My Spotify page can be found here, I'm just starting and will continue to grow my own play lists.

I've started using short 1 and 2 minute songs to time students between transitions and to play classical music as students come to class in the morning to start the day off in a calm mood.  I've started playlists of 1 minute and 2 minute songs for timing transitions which you can find on my Spotify page.  You can also find my morning classical playlist.

I found another source for 1 minute songs here as well. Not a Spotify list, but you might find it useful for transition songs.

Give Spotify a try and see how using more music in your classroom can help your students focus.  Not only is is great for transitions and focus, but you'll be able to quickly find songs to integrate into your lessons.  This will save you time and money.  I'm just starting focus on more music (and other art forms) in my lessons.  I'll be sure to share as I use more and more.

I considered creating my own video tutorial for using Spotify, but found this one below that does a great job.  It gives a great overview and some great information to get you started using Spotify.

Be sure to head to the next Bright Idea from Angelia at Extra Special Teaching

Extra Special Teaching

She's sharing tips on Organizing Student Work for Portfolios

Thanks to Shelley of Teaching in the Early Years for organizing the 

Be sure to check the linky below for links to all the "Bright Ideas" this month.

How do you use music in your classroom?  Have a Spotify account and want to share your link?  Feel free to share your ideas and links in the comments. 

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