Saturday, March 31, 2012

Coach's Eye

This year I was super honored to have an iPad 2 donated to my classroom.  Now, I am super pleased with my iPad for myself.... it does all that I want it to do.  The iPad2, however, is FANTASTIC for my classroom!  With the camera built in there are a ton of fantastic apps I am able to use (I am thinking that I might need to start reviewing apps once a month... humm) My students love to Skype, with the built in camera we are able to do that.  I use the camera feature for taking quick pictures of what we are doing, students taking pictures for our twitter account, skype, classroom schedules, and so much more.

This past week I was able to download Coach's Eye by TechSmith  I won't lie... I LOVE TECHSMITH products!  When my classroom first started blogging 5 years ago loading our videos straight onto blogs was not an option.  I had to host my videos somewhere else and then use HTML code to import them in.  TechSmith to the rescue with  Screencast offered me a perfect (and free) place to host my videos!  I started making tutorials and I went back to TechSmith to use Jing to make screen capture videos.  I have recently upgraded to Camtasia (but won't have a chance to play with it yet.. have to get through testing first!)  

But, this blog is not about all of the Awesome TechSmith products... it is about Coach's Eye.  
From the website:
"Sometimes all it takes is looking at a specific moment to drastically improve your performance.  Coach's Eye makes it extremely easy to review individual frames of the video to really see what is happening.  You have the power to create and share videos that people can understand immediately without ever leaving your phone."
Although this app is geared towards coach's... I jumped at the chance to modify it for my room.  Working in a classroom with lots of different behaviors we work on behaviors through social stories, pictures, schedules, modeling... and so much more.  What better way to model what my students are doing than to record behaviors!  Now.. before I get to far.  These videos are ONLY used in my classroom.  I also have permission from all of my parents to be able to record pictures and videos of my kiddos :)  With that being said, there will not be any screen shots in this post.  I just wanted to take a minute and talk about it.

So, Coach's Eye is not just a video app.  You can take video with the app, then review it.  During the reviewing process you can of course start and stop it.  What is even cooler is that you can slow it down and draw on it! I can see it being used by coaches to really look back and improve skills of their team... but just think how you could utilize it in a classroom.

Here are some ways that I plan to use this in my classroom
-Catching my students doing the correct thing ie-sitting in a chair, raising their hand, lining up.  Video them doing the appropriate behaviors, review it with them by drawing smiley faces, circling correct behaviors and of course positive praise.
-Using the catching the students doing correct behavior to remodel when an inappropriate behavior is happening
-Using it to record a "meltdown" so once the student is calm we can go back and reassess the steps that can be taken next time to possibly avoid this (ie. student using a cool down card, asking for help... but also staff seeing what the trigger might have been)

I look forward to testing this out even more!  You can follow them on twitter @CoachsEye

What is your favorite app for the classroom?  What is your favorite personal app (mine is Flipboard for all of those 100s of blogs and instagram!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Leaf in Learning Conference- Day 1

So, it is 12:30 in the evening.. well I guess technically in the morning. That means that 29 minutes ago Hunger Games opened (no.. I am not writing this from a movie theater) It also means that I am finally back in my hotel room forming my thoughts from today.

I am so thankful for all of the amazing opportunities that I have had this year. This conference is another AMAZING opportunity! I know that I say this often.. but if you know me I am completely sincere and mean it!

Because I am mobile, I will not be able to add in all of my links like I normally do (but then again.. I don't really know how many readers.. if I have any readers actually use my outside links :)

I flew into Chicago late Wednesday evening and was lucky to have Elaine chaperone me to the hotel. Elaine has done so much for me this year! Because of her my students have been able to skype via the iPad 2 that she donated our classroom rather than crowding around the camera set up to the projector. Then again, that is a whole other story! Anyway.. I digress.. Elaine picked me up at the airport and took me to the most lovely hotel in Schaumburg the venue for the Follett New Leaf in Learning Conference 2012. I was bummed that I missed Kevin Honeycutt as the keynote, but enjoyed his company along with Kay, Lori, and other new found friends at dinner Wednesday evening.

This morning (well.. technically yesterday morning) I was excited for a full day of sessions. When I say full day of sessions.. I mean it was JAM packed! It was nice to start off with a fabulous breakfast followed by a inspiring keynote. Ian Jukes was a great storyteller. He challenged us to figure out how we were going to be the change agent. It is important to go to professional development, but how are we going to inspire others, how are we going to be the change. I LOVED his TTWWADI (that's the way we have always done it) I spent the rest of the morning getting ideas about standards based learning and the flipped model classroom. Both of these sessions had great ideas, but I was hoping they would be a little more interactive. Then agin.. every audience is different with different expectations. Lori and I present tomorrow (well... okay today in about 8 hours)

We had a Fabulous lunch! Yes, I took picture of the food (my husband would be so proud) The afternoon sessions were fast and furious. Usually the session after lunch is tough. You eat, you start to digest.. you get tired. I had the chance to learn about Cranium CoRE. This is a website that is just budding. I was impressed with the presentation and look forward to looking more into this company. The next session that I sat in on was Training Teachers to Use New Technology. No, I am not a trainer of teachers in my district, but I do present. I tried to attend sessions and strands that would help me when I try to move up out of the classroom. What was cool about the presenter in this session was that he was a previous 20 educators to watch for the National School Board Association... how cool is that!

The last session of the day was my fellow friend and Sisterhood of the Traveling Mac- Kay Tibbs. I have known Kay for about 3 years (only met in person about 5 or 6 times.. thank goodness for the power of a PLN) but hadn't had a chance to see her present. What a fabulous session over QR codes. It was not a sit in get, but a get up and collaborate. I enjoyed watching participants communicating with others. It was great session. I loved how she talked about the importance of collaboration and that you have to ask 3 before me. By setting the standards of the students had to wok with 3 other individuals first they had more time to collaborate and work it out for themselves. You know those 4pm-5pm sessions are hard, but she did a great job of keeping us engaged.

So.. Lori, Kay and I unwound by spending time in the hot tub and then eating dinner with friends. The conversations were lively, comical, and at times intense. How great to be able to have tough conversations with greatly varying opinions in such a safe environment.

I learned so much today. I have been sharing a TON of pictures on twitter! Make sure to follow the hashtag #NLIL12. I must sign off. My eyes are very tired.. and I present in the morning! Excited about another full day, seeing some sights in Chicago, and flying home.. PadCampDallas is tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


WOW! March has been CRAZY! I am actually headed out tomorrow for Follett's New Leaf in Learning Conference where I will get to catch up with some Sisterhood of the Traveling Macs.  I get back late Friday evening.  Saturday morning I will be spending my day hanging out with some awesome people at PadCampDallas (it is not to late to sign up!)

I couldn't go another post, however, without mentioning one of my FAVORITE sites, apps, and connections! BrainPOP- You know the awesome Robot.. the fantastic cartoons.. the amazing lessons.. you know that one!

I'm a BrainPOP Educator Badge

There are different versions of BrainPOP. In my classroom we are Annie and Moby fans of BrainPOP Jr.  Although BrainPOP is a paid site, there is a TON OF FREE stuff!  In BrainPOP Jr. Annie and Moby are the main characters of mini movies over topics in science, social studies, health, reading and writing, math, and arts and technology.

When you first enter the site students and teachers can scroll over the different topics and it reads it for you.  That's right... it READS it for you!  I am a pretty good reader I have to admit, but what a great resource for my students!  Thank you BrainPOP for helping increase language in my classroom!  Choose the section that you want and it takes into a categorized area of ideas.  If you  have a subscription you can watch any of these movies, but if you don't there are still a TON of free movies too.  Of course the Movie of the Week is free (okay.. I LOVE free things.. but love them even more when they make a difference in my classroom!)

Watching the BrainPOPJr movies as a class are a great way to introduce ideas and review ideas, but BrainPOP is SO much more than movies!  In the movies you can add closed captioning.  This is another great way of increasing vocabulary in my classroom.  With each movie is also a game, a joke, activity, belly up,  draw about it, write about it, lesson ideas, read about , talk about it, word wall.... and quizzes!

There is a TON of stuff that you can do with BranPOP, so much that I learn a little something new every day. That is okay, because I just head over to BrainPOP Educators!  Yep.. that is free too!  This is the place that you can get lesson ideas, find out what is going on in the BrainPOP community, check out the state standards, and join in on free webinars on Wednesdays.  My favorite part of BrainPOP Educators is Featured Movies and Events which is the calendar and has ideas for each day of the week.

So.. I know there is just so much info in this blog, but there are so many cool things going on!  A new feature is GAMEUP.  BrainPOP is already a great way for higher order thinking, but the free games that GAMEUP promotes are super creative, educational, and fun.  The GAMEUP section is a great place for my students to generalize ideas that I am teaching.

You want it on your iPad... guess what, there is an App for that too!  It is FREE too!

There is so much to do with BrainPOP Jr.(I didn't even talk about BrainPOP or BrainPOP ESL)  that a blog can't even sum it up.

I should get to bed (as I leave tomorrow... and I still have a little packing to do!)  Check out BrainPop, find them on twitter, and sign up for the FREE BrainPOP Educators.  Do you use BrainPOP?  How do you use it?  I LOVE connecting with people and seeing how others are using the same materials I am.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beauty Live Event

What a Fantastic way to end spring break!  This morning myself and 2 friends headed out bright and early for the Beauty Live Event at the Galleria Shopping Mall in Dallas, Texas.  Being a school teacher I don't get to often pamper myself... and the Beauty Live Event was a perfect way to do it!
Before our awesome Philosophy Oxygen Boost and makeover at Bobbi Brown
Being a teacher I am used to getting up super early and being ready to go... but I have to admit a beauty regiment is not in my early morning routine. Of course I can't forget the AWESOME bag we got!
 We spent our first couple of hours watching the Beauty Live Cosmetic Trend Show.

After hearing about all of the great products we headed to Nordstrom's  to try out some of the free products, get pampered, and of course... SHOP!

First stop.. Oxygen Boost by Philosophy.  I love their products, and will be purchasing in the near future.
Learning all about how to make my skin so much nicer at Philosophy!

The 3 of us spent the rest of the time meandering around the different booths set up to learn about different products.  We loved being pampered!

Checking out the Laura Mercier area.  Loved the Primer!

Loved the Chantecaille line. I so want to try their lipgloss!

Enjoyed checking out the Kate Somerville booth

Of course, it wouldn't be a girls day without it ending with a makeover!
Raquel did an Awesome job!  She made it so easy.

Now I just need a great new hair do to go with it :)

Fabulous day with Lovely Ladies!
Thanks Bobbi Brown for the awesome makeover!

I can't wait for next years Beauty Live event!  I loved learning about new trends, seeing new cosmetics and fashions, and of course hanging out with some amazing women!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


This busy bee is on her way to Washington DC to attend the CoSN2012 conference. I am so excited and nervous at the same time :)

I still feel so very honored to have such an opportunity to attend this conference on such short notice.

I was so lucky to have a dear family use their frequent flyer miles to get my flight, my parents to loan me money, and friends to offer to pick me up at the airport! What more could I ask for? Wait.. There is more! I have some awesome friends that are helping me out with a 3G iPad2 so I can give classes a virtual tour of the National Mall on Monday. I also have an uber supportive husband who got me to the airport before 5am this morning!

I will try to post updates about different things I learn while in DC. Make sure to follow me on twitter @akbusybee and check out the hash tags #CoSN2012 and #sisterhoodofmacs for all sorts of updates and pictures.

Thanks for the love and support!