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 iTeacherLauren.com!! So, make sure you bookmark it :-) 

Next, I realized my content tabs were irrelevant, so I designed 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 {oh.so.happy} 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!

Friday, March 6, 2015

AirDrop Awesomeness

All my hopes and dreams came true when I updated to Yosemite... or at least one of them.

Yes, in Yosemite, you can now AirDrop between your MacBook and an iOS device! I've already used it twice this week to get pictures from my phone to my laptop wirelessly! Brilliant! 

To use AirDrop on an iPhone or iPad, swipe up from the bottom to get the Control Center:

Click on AirDrop, and then Everyone (I had to do everyone to see my laptop as an option)

Then, on your laptop, go to AirDrop from Finder:

Since I've been using this to share Photos, I've been going into my Photo Album, selecting the photo I want, and then click the share button:

Once AirDrop comes up, I just click on where I want it shared to in AirDrop, and it shows up on my laptop in the downloads folder! 

You can also share the opposite way, from your Mac to iPad/iPhone. Also, you can AirDrop more than just photos - Keynotes, videos, webpages.. the list goes on!

For more info, check out  Apple's support page.

Or, check out this video tutorial.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog Lovin'

As a blogger, I feel a little behind the times.. I just learned about & started using BlogLovin'! (And thanks to Teresa for sharing in my joy of this fabulous site!)

I follow lots of blogs.. if you want proof, my bookmarks bar is FULL of them! However, I don't always find the time to click on every. single. link. to see what the latest and greatest is. Enter - BlogLovin!

When you sign up for BlogLovin' (just with an email and password), you can choose some blogs to follow, either by searching or browsing what's recommended. You can type in search terms like, "education", "4th grade", "common core", etc. It will show you the search results, how many followers they have, and images from their latest posts. Just click the Follow button, and they will be added to your feed. If you are going to use BlogLovin' for more than just Education blogs, you can also sort the blogs into categories and group them together by topic. 

The best part about BlogLovin'? I don't even have to check it! Each morning, I get an email digest in my inbox if there have been any new updates or posts on the blogs I follow. If something interests me, I'll check it out, if not, delete! It has made life SO much easier, and I am getting some great ideas too!

So now that you're all ready to sign up - click on the Follow Me on BlogLovin' button to the right --->

And here's a tutorial I found to help get you started!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tech Talk January Blog Hop

I'm excited to be joining the Tech Talk blog hop this month, hosted by Tasia at Great Minds Teach Alike!

Yesterday, I led a professional development session about getting connected with Twitter - but there are so many other ways that you can connect with educators on social media! Think back to Connected Educator Month, which was October... whether its following Edutopia, Scholastic, etc. on Facebook, pinning teaching ideas on Pinterest, scouring Teachers Pay Teachers for the perfect lesson, being in a circle on Google+, or reading blogs like this, there are so many wonderful educators and resources out there waiting for you to discover!

One of the tools I use to connect with other teachers is through the Instagram app. In fact, that's how I found out about Tasia's blog hop! I'm a very visual person, so I love scrolling through my Instagram feed and getting a window into other teacher's classrooms. {You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram @iTeacherLauren}

So how did I get started even finding teachers to follow on Instagram? I used some hashtags to search, such as #teachersofinstagram, #iteachtoo, and #teachersfollowteachers to see posts by other educators - and then I followed the ones that I liked! Once I found a few to follow, I saw that sometimes they would tag other educators in posts, and I grew to have a nice group of teachers that I follow and get ideas and resources from! In fact, after I finished the Twitter class yesterday, I saw this from @ATrendyTeacher.. how timely!

One of the accounts that I follow is @EdTechBaton. Each day, a different teacher holds the "baton" and posts pictures of technology happening in their school or classroom. I love seeing all of the different ways teachers are using technology in their classrooms, and finding new educators to follow! I held the baton back in January, and one of my pictures was even featured in an article on EducationNC

I'll be holding the "baton" again tomorrow, and posting from @EdTechBaton throughout the day. If you're on Instagram, check it out - and maybe even sign up to hold the baton one day too! Anyone can join :-)

Thanks for hopping over! Leave a comment if you're a connected educator, or plan to get started on Twitter, Instagram, etc! Don't forget to check out the other amazing bloggers and their ideas through Great Minds Teach Alike!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Brr! nICE is coming!

The weather outside may be frightful, but the lineup for the NICE (Northern Illinois Computing Educators) MiniCon is delightful!

The conference schedule is now available for the 2015 NICE MiniCon taking place on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at Niles North High School in Skokie, IL. The 21st annual NICE mini-conference will feature over 50 presenters, 60+ breakout sessions, a closing keynote by 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year Josh Stumpenhorst, and one of the best raffles around. Admission is only $5 and is payable at the door. Learn more about all of our presenters and sessions, as well as reserve your spot today at www.niceminicon.org

I will be presenting a session called #KidsCanCode.. I'd love to see some of you there too!