Friday, September 28, 2012


I have been hearing so many great things about ScootPad from teachers and bloggers that I just had to tell you about it right away!

ScootPad is a great common core practice website that...
1) is FREE!
2) Has NO ads
3) Students can sign in from home, from a computer or mobile device (all the apps are free too, for iPad, Android, etc.)

Here's a video for teachers that explains how it works:

Basically, Scootpad is a site where students can go to practice all of the Common Core standards for math and reading.  The site is adaptive, so students can move through the standards at their own pace.  You can also modify the content to meet the needs of specific students!  As a teacher, you will be able to see data {a lot of graphs!!} about how each student is performing and can also get detailed email updates about students' progress.

A fellow blogger, EduKate & Inspire, uses it with her students, and this is what she loved about it:

"1) Rewards... of course!  I am typically not a big fan of having a lot of incentives for students {in my opinion, intrinsic motivation is always the best}, but they sure were a great motivator on Scootpad. As students complete practices on Scootpad, they earn coins.  In your teacher account, you can create rewards and specify the amount of coins that each reward is worth.  You can use tangible items like candy or a pencil, or set other rewards like lunch with the teacher or show and tell {I do not do show and tell in second grade, so this was a highly coveted prize!}  Parents can also set rewards for their child to earn at home. Here is a screenshot of my rewards page:

2)  Social media... students love being able to connect with their friends on Scootpad!  They can send messages to each other, choose a smiley face to indicate how they are feeling for the day, pick out their own avatar, check out their news feed (updates about messages from friends and coins they have earned), look at the class wall (with posts from the teacher), and check out the leader boards. One nice feature is that the messages are pre-selected, so students can't actually type anything to each other {otherwise, they'd spend all day sending messages instead of practicing!}.  As the teacher, you CAN type messages to students, which is great for encouragement.  Here is a screen shot of the cute messages students can send to friends:
3) Badges:  Students can earn badges to show off their hard work!  I love the 100% Ninja badge :)"

Check out ScootPad by clicking the button below! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Class Incentives.. Yup, there's an App for that!

Remember last year when I introduced you to the amazing guy? Well, he's back and he's even made his own app! It's called Win a Spin ($0.99) and is an app that you can put on your personal iPhone or iPad to use with students when they earn a reward. You can customize the wheel with 6 of your own incentives.. extra computer time, sticker, pencil, recess, lunch with the teacher, etc. Then, whenever your students earn a reward they can spin to win! You can even hook it up to the SmartBoard with one of our iPad adapters so the kids can see. Check out this link for more information.. and thanks to Julie for sharing!

Another incentive app for your laptop and/or iDevice is ClassDojo. You can instantly reinforce positive behavior by rewarding students points in your free class account. You can also customize it to behaviors (think Characteristics of Successful Learners!) and when you reward the student it will show up for why they earned a point; on the flip side you can also deduct points for negative behavior. It also collects the data you put in and you can organize it for parents, report cards, etc. I think kids would love to see their little monsters up on the SmartBoard!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lion Tips & Tricks

Most of today's iWonder will be in my email to you to help you navigate some technical glitches. But, as we are all now on Lion, here are some of my favorite things about it:

1) Mission Control
If you tend to keep a lot of things open, you can click on Mission Control and see everything you have open. You can also create multiple "desktops" and have different applications open on each. 

2) Air Drop
This is something I haven't used yet, but if you share files a lot with your team, then Air Drop is a better solution when you can't email a large file. You just open up Finder, see all the nearby computers with AirDrop enabled, and you can send files just by dragging them onto a computer's icon. AirDrip will create a network between the two computers and transfer the files for you.

3) Resume
When you shut down your computer, you can choose to save your session, so when you turn your computer back on, it restores all your windows, exactly as they were when you shut down.

You can find out more about clicking this link to a Lion/Laptop Guide.
(You'll need to be logged into the district website to access it.)

Feel free to ask if you want to learn more about them!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Volume Control, Teacher Discounts & a Can't-Miss-Article

You might have asked yourself, "what do volume control & teacher discounts have in common?" Well, I guess nothing, other than the two both make me happy. 

First up this week is a VERY cool website brought to you from Joanna's Pinterest. It looks so simple.. a bunch of "bouncy balls", but if you click the Microphone button, they react to the volume of the room! Want your students to work quietly? Put up the visual and tell them to try to keep the balls as still as possible. I'm so interested to see how well it works with your laptop's microphone!

I also saw this pin that listed several different places that offer discounts to teachers! Some I knew about, but I wish I knew that Michaels and the Container Store offered discounts a long time ago. Check out the full list at the link below... and happy shopping :)

One more thing- about a minute after I published this for the first time, I saw that Megan had posted this CNN article. While it may be geared to new teachers, I think everyone can appreciate the messages the National Teacher of the Year shares. Give it a quick read if you have a moment!