Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Computer Lab Word Wall

My lab has three very big, very gray, very blank walls.  I liven up two of the walls with sheets of fabric, but I have generally saved that third wall for large, border free bulletin boards.  In the past, I've changed it up each quarter.

This year I decided it will stay the same for the entire year.  I made a Word Wall.

It's not a fantastic photograph but you get the idea.

The most time consuming part was cutting out the letters.  I worked our school's registration from 11am to 7pm and I cut out letters when I wasn't busy.  I got it all done!
I made the letters in Word and changed it to outline.  I printed it on colored cardstock and sent it through the laminator.  To get the layout, I used masking tape to tape them to the wall, arrange them how I wanted, and then stapled.  I had to be careful pulling the tape off but it saved a ton of time and frustration.

One wall done.  Two more to go. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Excel Activity

One of my most favorite things to teach is Excel.  Unfortunately, our curriculum has changed and I no longer have an entire month to spend on my favorite program.  I used to do an entire unit and the students were writing formulas at the end of it.  Unfortunately, Excel got the axe in our district.

The end of the year is coming up quick and the students are very antsy.  I decided to nix some of the typing practice we are doing and do a quick intro on Excel.

You will need a fun sized pack of Skittles (or M&Ms) for each student.  Because of allergies, I use Skittles.  The dollar store sells six packs for a buck.

I do a quick intro of Excel.  I explain the cell address, how to add borders, change fonts and fill the cells.  I also show them how to resize rows and columns.  I show where they can find graphs and charts and show them some of the very cool formulas you can write.  Then I pass out this sheet. (click link for printable page)

It's a very condensed version of the four weeks of Skittles I used to do.  This introduces the students to a spreadsheet and how to create one, then it sets them loose to explore the program.  I was so surprised at how many students figured out how to add a pie chart showing the percentage of colors they got.  I even had a handful that managed to write a formula to add all the Skittles together.

Next week we're back to typing but I may touch back on the Skittles again before the end of the year. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fourth Quarter Bulletin Boards

I have a few to share. . . .

The lighting is crummy.  My apologies.

This poster can be found a few posts down.  I made it in Word,  using the features in Word.  I thought it would be a nice reminder to the kids what exactly you can do in Word!

I'm not sure what I think of this one.  It's very. . . busy.

The words are recycled from a bulletin board I made last year.  I printed out the letters on to cardstock, cut them out while watching a NCIS marathon, then glued them to black construction paper.  I sent the whole thing through the laminator then cut around the letters.  This way I hang words, not individual letters.  That's a lot of letters to get straight and I knew I would never do it!

The different apps were printed out from Bing.  Originally they were apps on the gigantic iPod I made for the laptop lab but I trimmed them way down for this bulletin board.  I don't think I'm ever going to do a huge iPod again so it's not much of a loss.

This one will grow on me, I'm sure.

The one out in the hall is my personal favorite.  It's recycled from last year, but I think it turned out better.  The sand is spray painted poster board that I cut.  Did you know they make a sandpaper paint spray?  Don't buy the fine sand one. . . it will frustrate the crap out of you and doesn't cover very much.  Buy the big, cheap, thick can from Home Depot and you'll have so much sand you won't know what to do with it.

I used the blue butcher paper the school has and squirted three different colors of blue paint on to it.  I swirled it around with my brush, let dry, and free hand cutting the ocean out.

The tree is from the dollar store.  I used poster board and green paint to make a few more leaves so it wasn't so bare.  I also painted on to the decoration to add depth to the existing leaves.  I didn't have to, but I was in a matchy matchy mood so now you can't tell the leaves I made for the leaves that came with the tree.

The surf board is just cardboard, cut and painted.  I made those perfect red stripes with red electrical tape.  They cover up my imperfect paint job underneath.

And my tiki.  He's magnificent.  He was two bucks at the party store last year.  You need a decent stapler to staple him to the bulletin board. . . I use this one:

I have had to label it with my name because it's so amazing, everyone borrows it.  It staples right up to the edge with absolutely NO effort.  It's a bit pricy. . . about $22. . . but worth every penny.

The green boxes on the board are my safe internet surfing tips.

This one stayed up for only a month last year.  This year, it's staying up until summer vacation.  I am done with bulletin boards for the year!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Educator Discounts

It's the time of year that the money is tight and the supplies are running low!  Here's a list of retailers that offer discounts for educators purchasing items for their classrooms.

Note:  I live in the Kansas City area and have included only "local" businesses.  If you know of any more, leave it in the comments section!

Hobby Lobby:  One of my favorite places to shop!  Let them know your purchases are for your classroom and they'll give you 10% off when you checkout.

US Toys:  Sign up for their educator discount card and save 10%.  Bring your school ID to show the first time and get your card that day.

Half Price Books:  Not just for classroom purchases!  They give educators 10% off.  You need to sign up for their card and it expires every year on Halloween, so make sure to renew!

Office Max and Office Depot:  Depends on what you purchase for the discount you receive.  Ask at the checkout.  I think you need the "card" for the discount but its definitely worth the time it takes to sign up.

UPS Store:  This one depends on the owner of the store.  The store by me gives me 30% off copies and prints. 

FedEx/Kinkos:  If it's for your classroom, ask for the discount.  I believe it's 10%.

Joann Fabrics:  Gotta get their Teacher Rewards Discount Card but you save a lot!  You save 15% on your entire purchase and I believe you save 20% the first time you use it.

Party City:  You have to use your school credit card and you need your school ID, but you can save some money here.  The more you spend, the more you save.

Barnes and Noble:  The purchases must be for books to be used in the classroom, but you can save 20%.  Ask for your Educator's Discount Card.

Apple Store:  Bring your school ID when you shop. . . discount depends on what you buy.

Microsoft Store:  Depends on what you buy, but they give a great discount and I got loaded up with freebees the last time I went in!  Bring your school ID.

Hancock Fabrics:  Bring in your ID, save 15%.

I am aware that there are other retailers that love teachers and offer great discounts.  If you know of any, please add them to the comment section.  I didn't put any stores that offer discounts for personal purchases, partly because I feel weird about using my teacher status to buy clothing or shoes.  This is just my hang up, though, and I know it's a weird one!

This list is not all inclusive, nor am I guaranteeing its accuracy.  Retailers always have the right to change their policy, whether or not they choose to ask me first.   Let me know in the comment section if someone has changed their policy.  I don't shop as much as I would like to!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Another Technology Video

I plan on showing this one next week.

Technically, it's an ad for Samsung.  I think it's a pretty cool way to remind students that we are using technology to overcome barriers. 

This will take some intro. . . . in part because it IS an ad.  Our school does have hearing impaired students so it will be relevant in their world.

Don't forget to paste it into safeshare.tv!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Turn Clip Art into a Paint Color Sheet

Students love to use Paint.  Sometimes I have the perfect color sheet to go with a lesson, but it doesn't translate well as a color sheet in Paint.  Depending on the image, the colors don't fill in the space completely when you use the fill tool.

You can fix this and turn any clip art image into a Paint color sheet.

1.  Paste your image into Paint.  (You can put it in Word first and recolor it to be outline only.)
2.  Save your image as a monochromatic bitmap.

3.  Open the monochromatic bitmap image.  You will notice you have no colors!

4.  Save the image AGAIN as a PNG file.

5.  Use your fill bucket and color!  Just make sure to open the PNG file in Paint and you can do what you want to it, no weird white spaces.

My favorite way to use this lesson is when I teach an internet safety lesson to Kindergarten.  I've created a color sheet that goes with a book I read, Little Red Hoodie.  Fortunately, Little Red Hoodie has a karate chopping Granny who is a little more internet savvy than she is, and Little Red ends up just fine.    We read the book, discuss, then color our sheet in Paint.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

iPad Tips Bulletin Board

The big bulletin board in the hallway. . .

I reused my snowman from last year.  He lost part of his arm somewhere so I printed out an iPad for his hand.

The snowflakes are different "tips" for iPad use.
1.  Double tap the home button to view open apps.
2.  Press and hold to save or copy.
3.  Press the home button and lock button at the same time to take a screenshot.
4.  Press and hold letters to type accents.
5.  Four finger swipe to alternate between apps.
6.  Double tap to highlight.
7.  Double tap shift to keep it pressed.
8.  Hide the keyboard (I put a pic of the button)

I still don't have the hang of the panoramic feature on the iPad camera but I'm going to get it right one of these days!