A place where we can let our thoughts "percolate" and join in the conversation.

Staying Connected March 4, 2013

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Several years ago, my daughter’s teacher called her on speakerphone for the class to say hi when she had been out for several consecutive days. This simple 30 second phone call made her day! After seeing the impact personally of reaching out to a sick student, I have tried my best as a teacher to do the same.


Smartphones make this extremely easy to do and the time is well spent when you understand the positive impact this makes on the child who is absent.

On Valentine’s Day, my class had a classmate that had been out for 3 days and we knew would also not be in attendance the following day. I contacted her parents through email to find a good contact phone number and time to call. They offered Skype. I am personally a FaceTime user, but did have a Skype account established, so I said ok. We set a time and our class phoned through.


It was a positive experience for all. It made my sick student’s day to see that all of her friends cared about her and missed her. It was also great for the class to have the opportunity to see their friend, since she had been absent for several days. She was also missing a big party in first grade, so it gave everyone an opportunity to offer holiday wishes as well.

During the course of the video call, I mentioned her pillow. Such a simple statement at the time. I was just stating the obvious…her pink pillow was really quite cool! It was this simple statement that her father mentioned to me in an email after the call. He told me how much she loved hearing from us, but most of all how great it was that I loved her pillow!

We can get so caught up in the standards and reports and data and all of the ins and outs of technology implementation that I think it can be easy to forget about the pillows.

I had a colleague ask me today how to integrate an iPad into the classroom when there was only 1 iPad and many students. A certain pink pillow came to mind. Stay connected. It’s easy. And current technologies make it even easier.



iPads for Literacy February 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 3:11 PM
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We are so excited for the arrival of our new iPad Minis later this week!  We will be utilizing these iPad Minis exclusively for the literacy development of our first grade students that have been identified as “at risk” under the new definitions for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  

We will be loading them with literacy building Apps that provide audio and visual support to literacy development, writing creation and just-right books.  

We will be allowing movement of the iPad Minis between intervention teachers so these students have the additional supports with them in all of their learning environments.  

I am so excited for this project to begin!  Thank you Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation for making it possible!







GarageBand Fluency December 11, 2012

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I am very excited to share this with you!  A sample can be clicked at the bottom of this post…

We created read-a-loud books to help develop our fluency.  Each student in my first grade classroom are making their own GarageBand read-a-louds.

This is a project I did with my class several years ago, but it required me bringing in my MacBook from home and then editing and burning CDs at home for parents.

This year I was able to use GarageBand for iPad and then email parents the completed sound file.

After modeling how to use GarageBand for this activity, my first grade students were able to record their voices independently and manipulate the sound effects to complete their stories.


They love their finished projects!

We used two lines of sound in GarageBand.  The top line is their audio recordings for each page with a page turn sound effect between pages.  The second line holds background music as well as a final sound effect.  Image

The smiles on their faces are worth every moment I spent preparing this activity for them! 🙂

Here is a sample from one of my students!  STUDENT SAMPLE


Angry Birds Do Math November 27, 2012


In my quest to utilize technology and keep learning relevant to my students, we subtracted with Angry Birds today.  It was a hit!  We recorded how many birds and piggies we started with on a level.  Then we subtracted to discover answers to story problems as we played.

Here are some story problems related to Angry Birds:

We started with 4 birds.  We now have only 1 bird left.  How many birds have I used?  (4 – ? = 1)

We started with 4 birds.  We used 2 birds.  How many birds do we have left? (4 – 2 = ?)

There are 8 piggies.  We hit 3 piggies.  How many piggies are left?  (8 – 3 = ?)

There were 8 piggies at the start of the game.  There are now 2 piggies.  How many piggies have we been able to hit? (8 – ? = 2)

We have 10 piggies and 6 birds.  How many more piggies do we have than birds?  (10 – 6 = ?)


And using other math concepts:

How many piggies do we have to get?  How many birds do we have at the start of the game?  Do we have more birds or piggies?  ( >, <, =)

We have 4 birds.  How many are red and how many are yellow? (number combinations)

We have a little blue bird.  When I hit the screen, the bird multiplies to 3.  How many birds were added? (1 + ? = 3)

How many birds and piggies are there in total?

If I have 5 birds and 10 piggies, how many piggies do I need to hit with each bird to win the game? (multiplication)


Have you used Angry Birds in the classroom?  Please share your thoughts and ideas!  🙂



A Must See – Numberlys October 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 1:15 PM
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Remember “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?”

You have got to experience The Numberlys…by Moonbot Studios


This is an interactive story App for the iPad – it is worth the money. 🙂

The Numberlys App


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