01 December 2018

Chromebook Cart Organization

First a little back story...

Here in Georgia, school systems had the option of choosing to complete the 3rd, 4th, and 5th end of grade Georgia Milestones Assessment online or on paper.  Up until this school year, my school system then allowed each school to make the choice: online or on paper?  This 2018-2019 school year, the choice was made for us...all students are completing the Georgia Milestones Assessment online.

This decision put my school in a bit of a pickle!  My school system is not a 1-to-1 device school system...we are the largest school system in the state of Georgia and have over 100,000 students.  At my school, we have worked to get device numbers up in classrooms but 3rd grade still had only five laptops per classroom and 4th and 5th had ten total laptops and Chromebooks.  My principal and I made the decision...more technology must be purchased!

To get the most bang for our buck, we purchased loads of Chromebooks!  Actually enough Chromebooks to fill six carts plus more!  Well with this many devices in the building (and wanting them to be used so they stay up-to-date) and the possibility that they would be spread all over on testing days, I needed a good but simple organization system.  And what's more simple than color-coding?

Here is how I color-coded our carts:

➡ We started with these carts...

I would have liked to purchase carts that were a little more fun and colorful, but when you are in a large school system sometimes processes and procedures limit your choices.  There was one type of charging cart for Chromebooks that were approved for purchase, so the Pro20 Notebook Cart by Spectrum Industries Inc. were the carts for us!

These are pretty standard charging carts.  Each cart holds 20 Chromebooks, rolls, and locks.  They are not huge or heavy either (trust me...I have pushed them around a bunch!).  Although not the prettiest of storage systems...they will do the trick! 😉

➡ Next up vinyl...

I have some experience with vinyl labeling, so I knew that choosing the correct kind of vinyl was of vital importance!  Because I didn't want any curling, lifting, and wanting to make it incredibly challenging for picking, I chose to go with Oracle 651 Permanent Outdoor Vinyl.  For me, color choice was the most important factor in purchasing so other places may have a better value, but I purchased the vinyl I used for these carts from Expressions Vinyl. I advise overbuying your vinyl because you will save yourself stressful moments.
Oracle 651 Vinyl @ Expressions Vinyl

➡ Cutting the vinyl...

I cut the vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo 3.  This was really the most stressful part of the process for me!  (Like I said, buy enough vinyl to make mistakes on!)  I do not cut my vinyl with a mat especially because I used 5 foot long rolls of vinyl, so making sure the vinyl is properly lined was super important!
Silhouette Cameo 3

➡ Vinyl Application Time...

Application was probably the quickest part of this process!  I can be perfectionist and any bubbles in the vinyl drive me crazy so smoothing those out slowed me down a little bit.  This was only a big problem on the largest pieces.  Vinyl application took place in three parts:

  1. Applying cart names 
  2. Applying slot numbers 
  3. Applying Chromebook numbers 

I am very happy with how these Chromebook carts came out!  Now the final step in the process is setting up a new check-out procedure through Google Calendar.  I cannot wait for these carts to get classrooms for classes to use!

Do you have sets Chromebooks for check-out at your school?  How are they organized?  Do you have any ideas how I could improved my carts?  Post all your comments below!

21 November 2018

What Teachers Really Want (and Need) for Christmas

Each year around this time I see my Facebook friends asking for ideas of what to get their child's teacher for Christmas.  I have walked the aisles of Walmart with the lotion and bath product gift sets.  I see the catalogs and websites putting out the cute teacher ornaments and mugs.

I am a huge proponent of "it is the thought that counts", so put those thoughts out there!  The absolute best gift is the expressing of your appreciation and thanks for all he or she does!  The best part about this is it costs NO money, but it does take your time!  Write your child's teacher a letter of appreciation and thanks for all the work he or she does for your child each day.  Don't forget to include the specifics about things he or she does that your child talks about at home.  Teachers often feel that their work isn't noticed or appreciated.  Don't forget to have your child write or dictate a note to you as well.

But if you are wanting to do more, what do teachers really want (and need) for Christmas?  Here are some ideas to delight your child's teacher during this holiday season...

🎁 Gift Cards

Ok I know what you are thinking..."Gift cards are so impersonal!"  Yes they can be if you don't put a little thought into them.  When I was a classroom teacher, I could tell the difference.  For example, I don't drink coffee at all...can't even stand the smell of it!  What gift card did I get more than any other?  Starbucks!  I would just give these away...most often to my colleagues who didn't receive student gifts, or I left on police officers' patrol cars as a random act of kindness.

But gift cards really aren't impersonal if you do them right!  In fact, the well-thought gift cards were some of my favorite gifts!  If you are lucky, you have a room parent that gets the teacher to fill out a favorite things list like mine used to.  (Are you a room parent and don't use a favorite things list?  Get one here.)  Any place your teacher included on this list they would greatly appreciate a gift card for!

No favorite things list?  Ask your child about what some of the teachers favorites are... does she drink a Starbucks iced coffee every morning?  does she talk about getting lost in the Target all the time? does he have a Friday tradition of having Uber Eats delivered to school?  Maybe your child notices her nails are always nicely done but doesn't know where?  Send your child into on a detective mission!  Teachers are asked so many random questions during the school day that she won't suspect a thing with a question from a child of where do you get your nails done!  Anything your child notices frequently about his or her teacher, that would would be thrilled to receive in gift card!  

If all else fails...an Amazon gift card would make any teacher happy!

🎁 Classroom Supplies

I loved receiving classroom supplies as Christmas gifts!  By December, classroom supplies are already starting to run low!  First, classroom supplies don't have be lugged home! Second, who has to pay to restock the classroom...the teacher!  Take a peek back at the beginning of the year supply list (already threw that away?  Most schools keep that list on their website!)  A gift basket of pencils, glue sticks, dry erase markers, or brightly colored copy paper will make a teacher squeal with delight!

Not sure what supplies to get?  Then see the previous idea...gift card!  Give the teacher a gift card to Office Depot, Staples, or Amazon with a sweet note!  A teacher would also be excited to receive a TeachersPayTeachers gift card too!


🎁 Movie Tickets or DVD Rental

Have you seen the price of movie tickets these days???  An evening at the movies makes a teacher's wallet cry!  Give him or her a gift card worth two tickets to the luxury of an evening movie!  Or if you have Red Box in your area...a gift code for a DVD rental will be greatly appreciated as well!


🎁 Don't Forget Gift Presentation!

The presentation of your gift is the best way to make it even more special and the best way to show you put the same amount of thought and energy that your child's teacher does each day in the classroom. Your child's teacher spends countless hours every week preparing the best possible lessons for your child.  He or she has spent their summer creating a space your child will feel at home in. So don't just slap a sticky bow on lotion gift set!

Presentation doesn't have to be fancy or difficult.  Pinterest has loads of ideas of how to present teacher gifts.  I have created a whole board full of ideas here.  Most have free printables to help you make your gift a little more special.  Here are some ideas from my board...
from Pioneer Party
from Paper Trail Design
from Creations by Kara
from Delightful Order

In the comments...Teachers, tell us some of your absolute favorite gifts!  Parents, get advice on your gift ideas!  Can't wait to hear them all!

12 November 2018

Getting Emoji-fied with Emojily

This past week, I attended GaETC, an educational technology conference here in Georgia!  This conference is awesome, and if you ever get a chance to go...jump at it!  There are so many great edtech gurus...including one of my favorites, Tony Vincent of https://learninginhand.com/.  I attended a couple of his sessions, but one of my favorites was about how to use emojis in instruction.  

Well today, I was creating in the app, PicCollage, and of course an ad for another app popped up!  (By the way, I very rarely pay for apps, so I see plenty of ads!). This free-mium app allows you to create your own emoji...I couldn’t not download it!  It is an adorable app that allows you too...

Because it is free-mium, you have a basic set of parts to create your own emoji.

But even with just those basics, you can still create a pretty cute emoji to use as a sticker in your messaging or texting app!
But you can also save your emoji to your device, so there are a variety of cute ways you and your students could use this app.  Students could create their login/account image for G Suite.  Creating an emoji is pretty quick, so students could create an emoji as a response to their learning.  As the teacher, you could create a variety of emojis to use as feedback for grading.

Emojily is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.  In the comments below, share other ideas you have for how to use this app!

28 June 2018

My first Google-y Product Update - A Meteorologist's Helpful Tools

Good morning!  Are you out on Summer Break like I am?  I actually have been out since Memorial Day, but I have been keeping super busy taking classes (I'm getting my coaching endorsement this year!) and TEACHING classes to staff at my school.  So now I'm officially on Summer Break with no school responsibilities until the last week of July! (But really who am I kidding...my to-do list is already a mile long!)

So what do I do on my first day of official freedom...I update a product for you!  And guess what!?! It's all Google-y!  Oh...and interactive notebook-y!  But still all kinds of fun for your students!

Weather Instrument Cut & Paste has been updated to A Meterologist's Helpful Tools. Click on the picture above to get yours!  Students will still be matching names of weather tools to their descriptions.  But now includes 3 fomats:
  1. The original letter-sized (which will fit into a spiral notebook for interactive notebooking) 
  2. *NEW* Composition book-sized (this was my preferred size for interactive notebooking when I was in the classroom) 
  3. *NEW* Google Drive format - DIGITAL CUT & PASTE! - give your student their own copy through Google Classroom (or create a Force A Copy link) and students will drag and drop the names and descriptions. 
You can get your updated copy on TeachersPayTeachers!  I hope you enjoy these updates!  Let me know what you think because I am working to update more of my products like this one!

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