Sunday, March 17, 2019

Celebrate Spring With Wildflowers and Legends

I think the month of March is the busiest time of year in Austin. The city has been packed with people and "scooters" for SXSW. I love the energy but the traffic is unbearable. As soon as SXSW is over, we host a huge Dell Match Play golf tournament with all of the top golfers. In this post, you will learn about my favorite books about Wildflowers and Legends.

Celebrate Spring With Wildflowers and Legends - Featuring Tomie dePaola's books about wildflowers

Even though the city has visitors from all over the world, I love taking time to enjoy what this season has to offer. The bluebonnets are beginning to bloom and trees are full of beautiful blossoms.

Tomie dePaola has written two of my favorite books to celebrate spring and wildflowers. Your class can also celebrate the season with The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, plus they can learn about legends and plants.

Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, brought beauty back to our country by blanketing our roadsides with native wildflowers. She also established the National Wildflower Research Center in Austin. They collect and preserve seeds of flowers on the verge of extinction and educate visitors about conservation.
Wildflower Center in Austin

I love sharing my favorite spring reading products about wildflowers.

Legend of the Bluebonnet Product Cover        Legend of the Indian Paintbrush Product Cover

Legend of the Lady's Slipper Product Cover         Open a Wildflower Center Product cover

Just drop by my TPT Store for more units for spring.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Getting Organized With Project Based Learning

Are you new to project based learning? Do you need a better way to plan your PBL unit? Are you having difficulty staying organized during your PBL unit? Is it impossible to find time to collaborate with teachers? Let me help you Get Organized with your Your Project Based Learning unit. 

Title slide - Teacher's Digital PBL Planner

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Building Expository Writers With Mentor Texts

In today's world, with so much information coming from the Internet, it's crucial to check the validity of websites. Students need to make sure that they are getting accurate and reliable information when conducting research and for expository writing. Checking information retrieved from the Internet also helps students search better and strengthen arguments about a subject. In this post, I'm going to use the book, But I Read it on the Internet!, to Build expository writers with mentor texts. I'm joining my friends with the Reading Crew to share our favorite books and skills for Building Expository Writers With Mentor Text.

Building Writers with Mentor texts - featuring the book "But I Read It On The Internet"

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My BIG Takeaways From TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association)

TCEA has been held in Austin for about 30 years. Believe it or not, I've attended most of them as a speaker or attendee. This conference has grown to gain national attention all over the US. The speakers are excellent and the exhibit hall is filled with vendors. This year, the conference was held in San Antonio. I was FULLY CHARGED when I left the conference. In this post, I'm going to share my BIG takeaways from TCEA.

It's always fun to attend the conference with coworkers or your techie friends. For the past several years, I've met up with my friend Nancy Alvarez (Teaching With Nancy) or she stayed at my home in Austin. This year, we shared a room at the conference hotel, the Grand Hyatt. Nancy presented at the conference on MakerSpaces for younger learners.

My goal in attending TCEA was to gain more knowledge in advances in educational technology and new ideas for digital breakouts, and project based learning. I learned so much from most of the presentations I attended. I can't wait to share what I learned.

My Four Sessions

1. BreakoutEDU With Augmented and Virtual Reality - This session was interactive. We divided into teams to solve the breakout. All of locks were either AR or VR. The activity locks were placed in different parts of the room. Each involved a different App. 

- - With RoundMe, you can create 360 VR images. You can create portals, hotspots, maps, and sounds.  I love it for for designing tours for pbl and virtual escapes. There are even stock images that you can purchase for your projects. You can create up to 10 free RoundMe projects a month.
- CoSpaces - Students and teachers can build their own 3D creations. There's even a gallery with your curriculum. Students can also use it with the Merge Cube. Here's the example of the lock speaker Jaime Donally used with CoSpace. We were given this CoSpace website and asked the color of the person's shirt who was sitting.
- Merge Cube - We had the designer of Merge Cube to join us! There are over 10 paid and free apps to go with Merge Cube. I hope to post more about Merge Cube soon. The cube is so inexpensive and the apps are educational.
- Quiver vision - 3D/AR coloring pages; Quiver Education focuses on biology, geometry, and the solar system. 

2. Gamify Your Formative Assessments - I loved being involved in another interactive session. Have you heard of Goosechase? Goosechase is a virtual scavenger hunt. Frances Karels from West ISD designed a mission just for TCEA participants.  Missions can be designed based on the TEKS or other curriculum standards. Goosechase can be used as a BreakoutEDU or a fun way to assess your students during pbl. You can play free with up to 3 teams. Participants can be asked to enter either text, video, photos, or GPS. Stay tuned, I plan to share more about Goosechase.

3. Cracking the Code: Coding Resources for Elementary - John Moran and Matthew Garrett from Northside ISD shared some great coding websites and apps for young learners. Their recommendations were Kodable,, and CS First. I plan to learn more about CS First because it's a Google application and comes with a curriculum.

4. Explore and More With Google Tour Creator - Kim Murfree from Mansfield ISD was so entertaining! She showed us how to design virtual field trips using Google Tour Creator. I can't wait to use Google Tour Creator with my digital escape rooms.

I'll be integrating my big takeaways from TCEA into my TPT products. Make sure to check in for more ideas for your classroom.

Learn about my BIG Takeaways from TCEA2019. (This is the Texas Computer Education Association - or TCEA.) In this blog post, I've shared apps, websites, and gadgets which will help you with AR/VR and project based learning.

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