International Dot Day

August 11th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 8-11-2013

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”
  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Almost two years ago, we wrote about Fablevision, and some of the resources they have to offer to classroom teachers.

Since then, we were invited by Terry Shay to become Fablevision ambassadors, which we were proud to accept.

As I have shared with many of you in our recent workshops, I have accepted a 4-week substituting job in Shannon’s school district teaching fourth grade.

I can’t deny that I am excited and looking forward to this job.
These first weeks have always been one of my favorite parts of the school year
when we are all excited about the possibilities,
and the aroma of new crayons fills the air.

I will be in the classroom from “Day One”,
and as I looked at the calendar to begin my plans,
I noticed another date.
“International Dot Day” ~ September 15, 2013.
My temporary term as a fourth grade teacher will end with “Dot Day”.

International Dot Day

The concept for “Dot Day” was created four years ago by Terry Shay when he shared Peter Reynolds’s “The Dot” with his students on the day it was first published. Since then, it has grown to be an international event.

Last year there were over 850,000 participants in this celebration. With this post, we invite you to celebrate, as well.

As you read more about “Dot Day” at “The Dot Club” website,
please take time to sign up to join the celebration. You will find a link to download a free educator’s handbook, and a seemingly endless source of ideas and inspiration.

We also encourage you to follow the “International Dot Day” Facebook page to stay current with reminders, suggestions, ideas and ways to collaborate.

With this, I want to share my absolute favorite video about “International Dot Day”.  Here you will listen as Shannon shares,
(with permission from Peter Reynolds, the author himself!)
Peter’s story, and the pictures the students at North Ward Elementary School in Tuscola, Illinois created for “International Dot Day”.



July 28th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 7-28-2013

“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”
~Jeff Bezos

TEACHERS pay TEACHERS is “an open marketplace for educators where teachers buy, sell and share original teaching resources.”


Here you can find lessons across all curricula for all grade levels for all learning levels that are created by teachers.

It includes several sorting options that cover all of these groupings, including a page that allows you to browse through FREE downloads.

Membership as a buyer and a seller is free and it does not require a school email to sign up.

One of the free offers is from Morgan Walker in Lebanon, Indiana. From Morgan is a free Word document that lists and describes “Technology in the Common Core Standards (grades 1-8)”.

We suggest you visit TEACHERS pay TEACHERS, check out the talented teachers that contribute, and take a look at their lessons. We are sure you will find a wealth of resources, and who wouldn’t want to buy direct from a teacher and bypass the publishers.

To view the categories offered by TEACHERS pay TEACHERS,
just click on the image below to enlarge it. - An Open Marketplace for Original Lesson Plans and Othe (2)Hopefully your day will be filled with sunshine much like our forecast.
Take time to fill the rest of the day with things that make you happy…


July 21st, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 7-21-2013

“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren’t resourceful.”
~Jeff Bezos

Last September, I wrote a post describing the “Snipping Tool” that is available on PC’s running Windows 7 and 8. We use this little tool almost daily for screen captures while building presentations, sending support emails, and posting support through social media.

GreenshotAs much as we love this little tool, it has its limitations in terms of adding shapes and text. We have recently discovered a screen-capture tool called Greenshot which is a free download. Greenshot has many more features, plus the endorsements of CNET, Sourceforge, and PC World.

Greenshot has its own editor and includes the ability to edit its capture in its own program, email it, and include it in several Microsoft programs. Your image can also be saved in several different formats.

(Just click on the image below for a closer look.)Greenshot

To learn more about installing and the features of Greenshot, just watch the videos provided by CaliRed11 on YouTube.

(You will find the installation and options on the Greenshot menu easier to use with the Greenshot updates that have been added since the publication of these videos.)

We hope you find Greenshot as useful as we do,
and something you can use, not only for screen-captures,
but as an editing program that will help you add meaningful images as support for your lessons.

Enjoy your Sunday and week ahead!

Travel Tips

July 14th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 7-14-2013

“Organization isn’t about perfection;
it’s about efficiency,
reducing stress and clutter,
saving time and money
and improving your overall quality of life.” 

― Christina Scalise

I have been traveling this summer. Those days spent in classrooms as a substitute last winter went straight into an account that is my “Atta Girl Fund”. I’m finally making up for all of those years of weekends writing lesson plans and grading papers. And all of those summers spent preparing for the next school year. I have been reading this week’s posts from teachers expressing their excitement for the new school year and how, already, they are counting down the days until they are setting up, again. That was how I always felt pretty much to the end.

And the “End” arrived, and now I am in control.
If you are not quite to the “excited” stage,
and you have one more trip or excursion within you,
this post is for you.
Two tips for traveling.

Tip #1:

I recently received a text from one of my grandchildren,
(she shall remain nameless, but she has my heart)
describing how she and her date spent three hours searching for their car in the downtown area of a very large city.
I sent her this picture,

Bloomington City-20130626-00016

and I told her that I always, always, always take a picture with my phone of where I parked. There is nothing worse than gathering your luggage at the carousel
(or your purchases at a huge suburban mall),
walk out to your car, and realize that you have no idea where you parked.
I always:

  • check to make sure I have everything,
    especially my driver’s license,
  • lock the car,
  • put my car keys in a safe place in my carry-on,
  • and take a picture of the location of my car.

I have even taken a picture of the entrance to the parking garage to make sure I am close to my car when I return.

Tip #2:

Hotel Tonight.


Love this app.
If you’re a “Fly by the Seat of Your Pants” kind of a person, you’ll fall in love with it, too. I’ve used it several times, and it is the fastest, easiest way to book a hotel with absolutely NO drama.

Once you have set up an account, you can book any one of their hotels any time after noon in that hotel’s time zone. All you have to do is look at the available hotels, read their descriptions and reviews, look at each hotel photo gallery, and once you make your choice, you only have to trace the “bed-shaped” h. You will receive an email confirming your reservation. A recent update was accompanied with this note:

“YOLO! Launched the HT Price Guarantee to (you guessed it) guarantee our rates are always the lowest one out there.”

Watch this video…

and if you want the iTunes app, head over to their store.
Android users, you are in luck! There’s an Android app, as well.
They are, of course, both free.

If you have any travel tips, we love to share, so bring it on!

Hope you are having great vacations, whether it involves travel, or a “Staycation”. Enjoy every second and cherish every single memory.


July 7th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 7-7-2013

“Organization isn’t about perfection;
it’s about efficiency,
reducing stress and clutter,
saving time and money
and improving your overall quality of life.” 

― Christina Scalise

This morning, as I was slowly waking up preparing myself for the day, I checked the weather, my notifications, and finally, my “Inbox”.

I received an email with the subject, “You’ve been reclipped!”.
Just like that.
With an explanation point for extra emphasis.
And I had to stop and ask myself, “Why all the excitement?!!!!”
Then, I remembered,
and more important,
I remembered that I needed to share it with our readers.



What is “Educlipper”?

In quick terms, it is a social bookmarking site that looks and feels like “Pinterest”. 
Except, unlike Pinterest, (which, by the way, we love), it contains no wedding ideas and “how-to’s” for braiding your hair.

It’s just for educators and their “stuff”.

But I warn you.
Save it for a rainy day.

Or for a project that requires some procrastination.
Again… It’s like Pinterest.

This little video might explain it best…

Educlipper allows you to filter through the clips separating them into:

  • websites
  • documents
  • videos, and
  • images.

You can organize your “clips” onto “Boards” that allow you to save and access clips that are relevant to your teaching and those that you need to have when you need them.


Crucial. How many times have you read articles or have seen ideas that made you think about developing a new project or activity, and when it is time to “shake things up” in your classroom, you either can’t remember them, or can’t find them. (Okay, so I’m the only one?)

Well, this solved that problem for me. I have even been known to find ideas on Pinterest and clip them to my Educlipper Boards.

So, if you want to spend a few (or a lot) of hours organizing ideas for this coming school year, click on the image below that links you to We recommend that you make an account and start clipping and reclipping!
It’s free!


Can we suggest that you wait until it rains?

Have a great Sunday and a great week!
With Independence Day, we like to think that we still have half of our summer vacation left!
Enjoy every single minute!

A Second a Day

June 16th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 6-16-2013

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Shannon and I began taking a picture and posting it every single day starting on January 1, 2010. We posted our collective images here and wrote about it here.

I couldn’t stop.
And so I continued to take pictures and post them in my attempt to collect and keep my memories.

Then, sometime this April, I posted a link on Facebook to this video by James Bernal. 

I was captivated by it, and proclaimed that I knew exactly what I was going to do next year instead of my 365 Project.

The comments under the Facebook post encouraged me to start now,
and to not wait until January 1.

I looked closer into the project and found the TED Talk and the originator of the idea behind the project. I watched Cesar Kuriyama’s audition video and decided right then to begin.

Kuriyama’s final project looked different than the original Bernal film I watched.
The first thing I noticed was the lack of background music.

Although I loved the “film score” of the Bernal film,
I wanted to preserve the sounds of my memories along with the images.

So, on May 3rd, I began collecting second-long clips of my life.
It has been different than my photos.
The film clips are more about experiences, than photography,
and as a result, more about the memory than the image.
The most difficult part was keeping it down to a second.
Some things just need more time to be remembered.
And that is very alright.
It is my project.
I did decide to continue the 365 photography project,
and to combine the two each day as separate experiences.

I was asked to offer a “preview” of my video with the month of May,
which is shared below.

I don’t know if I will “publish” my project each month separately,
or save it as an annual film.
Regardless, it has absolutely pushed me to do more, plan more, and look forward to each day a little more.

Shannon and I have presented this project in our most recent workshops,
and have suggested that this might be a wonderful way for teachers to preserve the memories of each year for themselves and for their students. They might even have their students decide which seconds are “film-worthy”.

1secondAdayAnd there is an “app for that”.
It’s free.

So with this post,
we encourage you to begin today and to take a second to save a memory,
whether it is one second, or more,
of this Father’s Day,
and to make a promise to make each day just a little more memorable.




June 2nd, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 6-2-2013

Don’t limit yourself.
Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do.
You can go as far as your mind lets you.
What you believe, remember, you can achieve.

~Mary Kay Ash

Shannon and I have often relied on YouTube videos for step-by-step visual directions when we need to learn how to do something new. The men in our households have relied on these to learn how to use the smoker and the best way to sharpen knives. When I’ve forgotten where to find the templates for address labels in Microsoft Word©, that’s where I go.

Now wSnapguidee have a new resource. has thousands of “how-to” guides, and is growing every day.

The Snapguide Blog features the best daily and weekly guides, and if there is something you need to know,
this is the place we recommend to get step-by-step visuals that include a “how-to” manual that is written like a recipe. It is organized to include supplies, it often includes videos, it includes images, and if you have a blog or website, an embed code is available for easy posting.

Below I have embedded a  Snapguide that explains how a  Snapguide can be used in the classroom.
Not only is it a valuable resource for both teachers and students,
but we recommend it for students as an alternative assessment for those “how-to/steps-in-a-process” writing assignments.

~~Check out How to Use Snapguide by Tabitha Johnson on

Snapguide is both web-based for easy access on your computer, and there is also an app for both the iPad and your iPhone.
Of course it is free.
You know how we love “free”!

We have also included a YouTube video from the Snapguide team that explains a little more about this great little app.

And yes, I did find a guide to sharpen knives and to smoke a brisket.
I guess it is up to me to make a guide on “How-to Make Labels Using Microsoft Word©”.

There is the possibility of sunshine today.
We hope you make the time to get outside to enjoy your Sunday and find some “Vitamin C” this morning.

iWitness: Teaching the Holocaust

May 26th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 5-26-2013

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings
endure suffering and humiliation.
We must take sides.
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

― Elie Wiesel

iWitnessShannon and I have helped many teachers develop “technology-engaged” lessons in our “Make and Take” sessions with the purpose of teaching the Holocaust.

Here is a website that offers help in a most engaging way.

iWitness is developed by the Shoah Foundation and is supported and hosted through the University of Southern California.

Last year iWitness received the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Award for one of the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning.

You can read more about the website on the “About Us” page.
There you will learn that…

“IWitness is an online application for educators and students, giving them access to watch, search, and learn from over 1,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. IWitness is unique by bringing educators and their students (ages 13-18) together at the intersection of Holocaust education and the development of critical multi-literacies for the 21st century. The 1000+ video testimonies available within the IWitness application are part of an archive of nearly 52,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses maintained by the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg.”

Who can join?
The IWitness application is available by invitation to educators. 
In addition, those invited program participants have the opportunity to invite their educator colleagues and their students.
To apply, click HERE.

To ensure your experience is successful without any technology “glitches”,
they have included a link to a PDF that can be printed out and sent to your Tech Support (IT) Department. To access it, we have included the link Here.

If you teach the Holocaust, 
we strongly recommend and endorse this website as a compelling resource for you and your students.

Wuala = Voilà

April 28th, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-28-2013

“When it comes to organizing a work-space,
relaxation and comfort aren’t the primary goals.
Work is about efficiency and productivity. …
The more neat and logically organized your work-space is,
the better you will be at your job.”

— Peter Walsh

Shannon and I have used Dropbox to store and share online contents for years.
One of the things we love about it is how seamlessly it works on the iPad.

Dropbox, however, is blocked in some school districts.
If that is the case in your district,
you might consider another online storage site which is touted for its “bank-level” security.

WualaOn Wuala, (pronounced “Voilà”) your files are all encrypted, and nobody has access to your files or your password, not even their employees.

Like Dropbox, you receive 5GB of storage free, you can share your files, and you can synchronize your stored files between your computer and your online account.

Wuala app

For more information, visit their FAQ Page. 

Oh, and yes!
There’s an app for that.
And, of course, it is free!

Stay dry, have a restful Sunday, and a great week.
We are on the homestretch to warmer weather and the end to another school year!

YodelOh™ Math Mountain App

April 21st, 2013

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-21-2013

The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated,
but to make complicated things simple.
  ~S. Gudder

Back in October of 2011, Shannon wrote a review about Spinlight Studio’s app, TableTots.

We have shared this app in iPad training sessions for elementary teachers,
and many have written notes confirming its versatility and usefulness.YodelOhMathMountain

This week we received a note from Spinlight Studio with this announcement:

“The sheep’s out of the bag! YodelOh™ Math Mountain hit the App Store today,
and we can’t wait to hear what you think about it!”

We love Spinlight Studio and their professional commitment to developing apps for educators.

  1. They are our neighbors located in Champaign, Illinois.
  2. Their apps do not contain “third party ads”.
  3. Their apps do not link to a social network.
  4. Their apps do not track your location
  5. Their apps do not link to web access.
  6. Their apps do not include “in-app purchases”.

For 99¢, you have an app that “blends arcade action with traditional classroom math drills”. The game is fast and is designed “to help elementary students memorize the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables essential for math.”
It is rated for ages 6-12.


Below is a link to Spinlight Studio’s guide for  YodelOh™ Math Mountain.

YodelOh™ Math Mountain and Spinlight Studio come with our highest recommendation. Read more on their “Press Release” page.

My only wish is that we had a few mountains around us so that, on this beautiful Sunday, we could hike a few ourselves. I will have to be content to take a walk through the woods surrounding Lake Shelbyville…

Have a great week!

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