Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Five: Favorite Apps

Welcome back to the Friday Five...

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Nora Davis

Kimmie Stephens

Today we are sharing five of our favorite apps! 


A picture is worth a thousand words and with WordFoto this old saying comes to life. This app is really easy to use. You just upload a picture from your camera roll, add up to ten words to your word list, and voila! You can also change the fonts, the number of times a word appears, and other advanced options if you want.

I sent the picture above to Kimmie for one of our end of year videos and she had a great idea to use this to teach main idea in first grade! Awesome! 

Settle Your Glitter

This is a relatively new app from the Momentous Institute. It can be used to help children identify and regulate their emotions and their breathing.

First, students choose what emotion they are feeling.

Next, they rate how much of that emotion is present.

Then the pufferfish guides them through a breathing exercise to "settle their glitter" and resume school activities with a calm, clear mind. 

I know this seems pretty simple, but I have used it recently and it REALLY worked. A student was very upset in class and was throwing work on the ground and knocking over chairs. I got him to come into the hallway with me and we used the app. When he returned to class, he was calm and ready to learn. He had a great rest of the day too. Sometimes, kids just need that visual to help them recenter.


Who doesn't love coloring? It has made such a comeback lately and you can find adult coloring books all over the place. This augmented reality app takes coloring to a whole new level of fun!

You simply print coloring pages from the Quiver website or app and let your creativity loose.

Then, you use the app on your device to scan the page and view the 3D version of your drawing. It shows up in whatever colors you used and inputs all off the little details you put into your coloring.

It really is amazing! I love using this app with individual students because if kids can have something to do with their hands, they are much more likely to talk and be open with me. It takes away the pressure of hard conversations. Honestly, it works for me too! 

Book Buddy

I shared this one way back at the start of this blog, but it remains my favorite organizational app and I thought it was worth sharing again. Click here to see the original post.

You can catalog your personal library with your own categories and it makes it so much easier to find the books you are looking for.

Kids World Atlas

I teach Geography during summer school and am always looking for something new and exciting to get their attention. I recently found this app and I think my students this summer are going to love it. It is a free download, but does have in app purchases for expansion packs. 

Students can view a world map, choose a category, and explore. 

The app comes with the animal expansion pack. When you choose an animal, you can read about it and then watch a video of the animal in action. I haven't had time to explore the app too much, but if you know a kid who is interested in our world, this is a great app for them! 

That's all for the Friday Five for today! If you have any app suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Until next time...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Specialist Spotlight: Kay Holloway

If I could compare Kay to someone you would all know, it would be St. Peter. She is the gatekeeper at our school and basically knows EVERYTHING! She is also hilarious, generous, and thoughtful.

I have always loved Kay and chatted with her when I made it all the way down to the office from 1st grade, but last year I came to love her even more. I basically ran around during my 1st year as counselor saying, "what?" or "who?" I was in a general state of confusion. Kay really helped me out and always had my back. She also helped me with all kinds of things that had nothing to do with school like homestead exemptions, insurance, property taxes, etc. I started to call her my school mom because she was constantly taking care of me. This year, I have my life together a little more and she is still taking care of me. She brings me yummy Market Street muffins for breakfast and Cadbury mini eggs when she knows I am about to have a stressful week and most importantly, she keeps me laughing.

I also appreciate that she is ALWAYS down for some FUN!!!! When Kimmie and I walked into the office and told everyone we wanted to do a dance to Juju on that Beat, but make it Reindeer on that Beat. Kay didn't bat an eye. She just pulled up Google and immediately bought some red sequin pants. She always goes all out for theme days and the kids love seeing her all dressed up!

Kay is certainly the life of the party and I am glad to be able to party alongside her! 

1. How long have you been in education?
I've been at Beverly for 15 years but would like to think I have been learning my whole life.

2. Have you taught any other subject or worked in any other capacity in schools?
I started at Beverly as a Resource Aide.

3. What inspires you?
When I see someone have that "Aha" moment.

4. What is your favorite techy tool?
First off, let's get this straight, I am NOT tech savvy. So I will answer that my favorite techy tool is my husband, "Better Call Hal".

5. Tell one of your favorite stories about a student.
I believe my all time favorite is when I asked a student why he was late and his answer was that his dad's pants were in the dryer.

6. Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Golf with my husband and boys. Now with the addition of my daughters in law, they are taking it up too.

7. Favorite children's book or author?
The Old Man and the Sea, when each of my sons and I read this book, I was encouraged that they actually got "it".
Here are some pictures of her boys now! She is such a good momma! 

8. Favorite teacher you've ever had?
I had a teacher in high school who really taught hands-on learning (a long time ago, before it was the thing). All the students loved his class because it was fun and we just learned even when we weren't realizing it. Not sure if I picked him as my favorite teacher because I also went on to date him for seven years after I graduated, either way, he was a terrific teacher.

These two girls are both characters! We laughed and had so much fun during this interview. 

Meet Nadine and Kendall.

Nadine is a 4th grader and has had me laughing since she was in Kindergarten. She was in my first grade class and I just adore her. She has a sparkling personality and fashion tips galore! Kendall is a 1st grader and her awesome mom is the art teacher at our school. We had heard stories about Kendall since she was born, but when she started in Kinder last year she was instantly adored by everyone. She is sweet, silly, and kind! 

1. How old is Mrs. Holloway?

K- 34
N- 38

2. What does Mrs. Holloway do for fun?

K- She watches movies for grown-ups. Ones that are inappropriate for kids. :)
N- She goes to the mall. I think she shops at JCPenny, Dillards, and Sephora.

3.What would she do with $1,000,000?

K- She would spend half of it for furniture and half for learning books
N- She would spend a third for her family, a third for school, and a third for charity.

4. If Mrs. Holloway didn't work at Beverly, what job would she have?

K- She would work at Target.
N- She would be a personal trainer because she does diets and gives tips to my mom.

Or maybe a nutritionist/chef?

5. If she was a fruit, which one would she be?

K- An orange because she gives hugs.
N- A strawberry because she is sweet.

6. What scares Mrs. Holloway?


Actually, Mrs. Holloway is very brave with bugs. One morning, she heard me screaming and running out of my office. She came to see what the problem was and I showed her the GIANT wasp-like creature that was flying around my office. She walked right in, swatted, and killed it. 
She is my hero! 

7. What is something Mrs. Holloway doesn't like? 

K- Hard beds that don't let you sleep good.
N- Fire Drills

8. If she could teleport, where would she go?

K-The Zoo
N- Hawaii

Those are great choices! Mrs. Holloway may have been born in California, but now Texas is the place she loves the most. 

9. What makes Mrs. Holloway so special?

K- She is always nice and shares her things. She is always letting people borrow stuff from her. 
N- She is very sweet and when people come to our school, she remembers their names. 

What does Mrs. Holloway do for her job?

-She says, "Hi! What do you need?"
-She looks on the computer to watch the cameras to make sure kids are behaving.
-She is in charge of the flags.
-She helps teachers

What do you think Mrs. Holloway doesn't like about her job?

-She has to walk alllll the time. There is so much walking.
-She has no privacy.
-Sometimes she just has to sit around. 

That's it for our Specialist Spotlight! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Five: Things You Might Not Know About Me

I'm a Lefty...Mostly

I write and eat with my left hand, but play all sports right handed, use right handed scissors, to cut things pretty terribly, and attempted to learn the guitar right handed. I like my lefty style, but it does make writing on the white board a bit more difficult. I am also VERY picky about my pens and paper products because I can't have that smeared ink all over my stuff.

I saw this picture and it is SO TRUE...

I Love Crossword Puzzles

I am obsessed with crossword puzzles and all other kinds of word games and have been for a long time. In college, we used to compete over the campus newspaper crossword. I would get to class early to have some time to work on it. My roommate, Lexie and I would chat daily about the crossword and I'm pretty sure Rachelle thought we were insane. I am not a math girl, not even a little. But give me something to do with words and I am all in. 

I Have a Candy Crush Addiction

You are one of two kinds of people on this issue. Either you think Candy Crush is a ridiculous waste of time (you're not wrong) or you understand the obsession and you are thinking, "So what? Me too."
I am currently on level 2,396 and weekly I see the construction sign at the end of the candy path letting me know that there are no more levels available at the moment. Yea, that's lame, but it also saves me from having to wait for lives from friends or paying to skip ahead.
As I am writing this, I realize it sounds pretty bad. I really use it as a brain break. If I am cleaning the house or doing laundry, I take a few minutes to chill and crush some candies. I learned a long time ago that I cannot have the game on my phone. I only play on my iPad so you won't see me wasting time at work or sneaking in a game when I am hanging out with friends. I think I have a pretty healthy handle on that addiction.

I Don't Like Baked Fruit

Yea, I know it's really weird. This means I don't like pie, except the crust.
I think it probably goes back to those creepy Kids Cuisine frozen dinners with the cinnamon apples that burn your mouth because they are never cooked properly?
Side note- I could not find any pictures of meals that included those dreadful apples. I'm thinking they took them away because some poor child got 3rd degree burns on their tongue from them.
I'm not sure. I just know that I LOVE all fruits, I just don't want them hot and sugary. Yuck.

Only Children Everywhere

So, a lot of you probably know that I am an only child. The interesting thing is that my dad is also an only and my mom is a "sort of only". My mom has two half brothers that are about or more than 6 years younger than her. They say that if they live 6-7 years without a sibling, you can be classified as an only because you don't go through the traditional sibling experiences. There are pros and cons to being an only, but in the end, it always worked out for our family.