Monday, August 17, 2015

Here comes.. Whole30!

Feeling like you need a jump start to get the school year going in the right direction? 

I am the kind of person who needs a plan to stay on track. I need weekly grocery lists, meal prepping in advance, and yummy recipes. And what better time to get in a good routine than the start of a new school year? Enter: Whole30!

Starting Monday August 31, I am going to do another round of the Whole30. I did it for the first time back in May, and it was truly life changing. So, why not do it again! And recruit some of you do to do it with me :-) #togetherwearebetter

The Whole30 is not. a. diet. You can eat as much as you want - as long as you live within their "rules" - which is eating good, wholesome food. Yes, it will sound like you are cutting out a lot of your "favorites", but this is only 30 days! And as someone who has done it before, it is truly worth it! 

If this sounds like something you need in your life, then let's do it together!

In the words of Ryan Gosling... "So it's not going to be easy. It's going to be really hard. And we're going to have to work at this everyday but I want to do that... Will you do something for me? Will you just picture your life for me? What's it look like, 30 years from now, 40 years from now?..."

Yes, we CAN do this and we will!! And I've made it cute and easy for you with some <FREE> meal planning downloads!

But, while the planning guide will keep you going, I highly recommend you also purchase the Whole 30 Cookbook. It will answer all of your more detailed questions and give you yummy recipes to last you through all 30 days! 

Still not sure? Check out the Whole30 website, which has TONS of resources and support. Comment below if you plan on joining me for this journey! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reading List

With the blogging world a buzz with back to school, I have found so many awesome links and articles I want to share with you!

First, I found this awesome blog of Genius Hour ideas, called 20% Genius. It was very timely after taking Julie C. & Teresa A's Creativity in the Classroom Academy 39 class. They are currently doing a "20 Day Challenge" with tips for getting started with Genius Hour in the classroom. If you hope to do a Genius Hour this year in your classroom, I think its a must read!

Our school, like many others, is reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck, and are going to focus in on Growth Mindset this year. Meghan Zigmond did a blog post #pb10for10 with picture books to go along with it! Love it Meghan!!

I've also been reading up on various MakerSpace ideas, and found this guide that doesn't even need a true "MakerSpace" to be a Maker! Just need an iPad :-)

I'm teaching an Academy 39 Class next week called "Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition", so I've also been reading (& Pinteresting) a lot about creating brain friendly learning spaces. Erin Klein has been a big inspiration! 

I'm excited I joined in on tonight's Twitter chat with Scholastic and Erin Klein, discussing learning environments. It was an AWESOME discussion! Check out the #topteaching hashtag to find more amazing resources on classroom redesign!

Have you found (or even written!) any great posts or articles I should share too? Comment below!

Monday, August 10, 2015


As part of my blog makeover, I came up with a few "themed" posts that I could do throughout the year.. so here is the first #MakerMonday!

I taught summer school this year, and this time invented my own classes to teach. I came up with an idea for a GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math & Science) class, inspired by so many wonderful people and ideas, including Lindsey Petlak's STEMagination Station, Super Awesome SylviaMade with Code, GoldieBlox, and many more! I had two classes of wonderful girls, separated in grades K-1 and 2-3.  

If I could teach GEMS everyday of the rest of my life, I would absolutely, 100% do it! I had the BEST time! Each week brought something new, from using literature as inspiration for activities (like the Wizard of Oz, Mo Willem's Pigeon books, If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter), to sew electric projects, Squishy Circuits, building with Goldie Blox, coding and programming robots, and more.  It is impossible to choose a favorite activity that we did, but just watching the building unfold out each day of simple items and a little bit of imagination was magical. These are a couple of our Animal Catching Machines from If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss:

They look simple, but the engineering, creativity, thought, and imagination put into them by kindergarteners melted my heart each day. 

Check out the <Tinker> section for some photos of the GEMS awesomeness! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Currently

I'm linking up with Farley and her August Currently!

Listening to my new yoga playlist for each week. I started teaching yoga in June as something "on the side" and have loved it! I make new playlists each week and have enjoyed finding new music on Spotify. (which, by the way, is the BEST app for music ever. Totally worth the $9.99 per month!)

Loving the new Zac Brown Band album Jekyll + Hyde. We are going to see ZBB in September at Wrigley Field, and I cannot wait! His new album is fantastic, and totally fits the name "Jekyll + Hyde". Seriously, one moment I'm listening to something that sounds like its out of the 1940s, and the next its similar to heavy metal. Love love love!

Thinking about all the things I have to pack and do tomorrow to get ready for our trip to Vermont & Boston! We leave on Tuesday, and have so much to do before then. Lists on lists on lists!

Wanting another month of summer. For real, how is it August already?!

Needing an ice cold LaCroix. Because it has been 90s in Chicago all week. 

B2S RAK I know, I had to look up what an RAK was too. {Random Acts of Kindness}. I had lunch with some of my best teacher friends the other day, and joked that I would be the one spreading sunshine and rainbows this school year. It is one of my goals to spread joy and be as positive as I can at work. I want to uplift and inspire my colleagues this year! Negativity can be such a trap, but it is my mission to remain positive - so kicking the year off with some Happy Mail for coworkers is a good place to start :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Learning Commons Construction Update

Our Learning Commons construction started the day after school got out, and is scheduled to be completed in just a few short weeks! It looks {AMAZING} so far and will be such an innovative & inspiring place to teach in!




<< Our New Office >>

When everything is completed I'll post before and after pics! 

Blog Overhaul!

Hey everyone! I'm back... and I can't believe it has been since March since I last posted! #badblogger

I reflected about the reasons I stopped blogging back in March... 1) I was swamped at school and so busy teaching and learning that blogging got put on the back burner & 2) I realized that my blog was too narrow for who I am. Yes, I will continue to post tech tips, but there is so much more to technology integration than that.. and me!

So, I sat down yesterday and started hashing out a plan. The first thing I did, was make a big change by deleting the name "iWonder" and changing it to "iTeacher Lauren". This has been my Twitter handle for several years, and it was always the address this blog was at via Blogspot. I think it will open new windows of opportunity for me to post about much more than just tech tips! So the first thing I changed was the header and then....


Yes, I now own!! So, make sure you bookmark it :-) 

Next, I realized my content tabs were irrelevant, so I decided to just do a complete design makeover. With our Learning Commons being built this summer, I want to post and share my experience teaching in a new, innovative space. I want to connect and collaborate with other educators about what they are doing in their MakerSpaces and how we can imagine new possibilities for our students. And overall, I just hope to inspire other educators! 

Now, let me tell you something. Until yesterday, I literally knew nothing about html code or using PhotoShop. But, I was determined to get this up and running before the craziness of the start of the school year, so I dug my heels in and got to work. I watched several tutorials on YouTube, got frustrated, and persevered to make it all happen. Yes, this was {yesterday} and today it is all up and running! Thanks to Ashley at Schroeder Shenanigans for inspiring me to SINGLE TASK!

In a nutshell, that's my short story of why I was determined to make a change, and I am {} with the result. I hope you are too, and I am so excited to continue this journey!

Cheers to a fresh start and new beginnings!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Last week I saw a post on A Trendy Teacher's blog that made me {oh-so-happy}!! So today I am doing some Spring Cleaning on my desktop and getting digitally organized!

I always used the colored labels for my Mac folders... and then they just turned into a dot. Boring! But now, my desktop folders can go from this:

to this!!!

Yes, you too can organize your desktop with any icon you want... And it is SO EASY!!

I started the same way that A Trendy Teacher did, with a blank slide in Keynote. I inserted a circle shape and then just put a text box over it with the name of the folder. 

Then, select both items that you want (so they are grouped together). You can do this by clicking and dragging to select everything, or by holding the Command key as you select each item. Press command-c to copy the images. 

Next, click on the folder you want to change the icon of. Click on Command-I to get Info on the folder, or control-click and select Get Info. 

Next, click on the folder icon:

And then click on command-v to paste! 

Congrats, you now have the prettiest icons in all the land! 

If you don't want to make personalized icons, you can use ANY IMAGE you want. Find the images you want from Google (or any clipart), and put them into a Keynote or document. 
Copy/Paste the same way above under "Get Info", and BAM! Personalized folders in just a few moments!

Have fun!