Thursday, July 31, 2014

iPad Mini-Giveaway!

How would you like to win a FREE iPad Mini to start off a new school year?  Oh, the possibilities for you and your students! 

Check out this site~ iPad Kids to check out the best kids' Apps, App reviews, and free Apps that you can use on the iPad Mini.  If you are not familiar with this device, this is a good starting point for a vast list of educational and entertaining Apps for teachers and parents.

Wondering how to use an iPad Mini in your classroom?  Click here to view 103 ways!

And finally, follow my Pinterest board "Tech for Teachers" for over 100 ideas for using technology in the classroom.

Now, you have to enter to win!  Good Luck!

***  PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroo.m and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The blogs below all contributed to this giveaway. You'll want to visit each one of them to get tech tips, reviews and more

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Would You Like to Party With Me?

Today's post is all about YOU!  Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or both, I understand completely how busy you are.  In fact, you are probably so busy, that you take little time for yourself whether that be sitting down for a few minutes to read, rest, or to indulge in a little pampering that you so deserve.

When I was working full time and had an only child, I had the money and some time to visit the nail salon for a mani, pedi, or both. However, it was still difficult to arrange for childcare, and I never felt comfortable spending that much money on my nails.  Most of my "extra" money was spent on my family and for my classroom.  Plus, I never quite got used to the harsh chemical smell of the nail salon.

Now, many years later, I am a mother to two young boys and the oldest of the three is in college. I have become a stay-at-home-mom, homeschool mom, teacher-author, and literacy tutor.  I thought the days of having my nails professionally done was over, and I was ok with that.  After all, I now have less money and less time.  

Then, I discovered Jamberry Nails.  As I requested a sample, I was doubtful that these vinyl nail wraps would be affordable, durable, and easy to apply.  I tried the samples and became hooked!  I immediately ordered a set of nails wraps for $15- which- is enough for about (2) manicures and (1) pedicure or (3) manicures.  That is $5 per mani.  Yes, I could afford this!  I watched the application video on the official site and was beyond pleased at the results.

Then I hosted a Jamberry Nails Facebook party where I was able to earn free products, meet new friends, and have FUN, all in the comfort of my own home while my consultant did all the work!

In fact, I was so pleased with this product that I became a-  wait for this-

To say I am excited about this new adventure is an understatement!  Jamberry Nails were created by women for women, just like you and me!  I have never been in direct sales and have only hosted one party many years ago for Pampered Chef.

To celebrate my new adventure, I am hosting a Launch Party on Facebook next week, and I would love for you to join in on the fun, games, giveaways, and prizes!  There is no pressure to purchase; you can come and go as you please without leaving your house!  If you are at all curious, have questions, are interested in hosting your own Facebook party (where I do all the work for you and you can earn free products), I warmly and enthusiastically invite you to my party.

Please send me an email at with a link to your personal Facebook page.  I will then request to be your friend, and can send you your official invitation with a link to the party page!  Please title your email I Want to Party.  

If you would like to browse through my Jamberry store to learn more, watch an application video, or to place an order (special deal:  Buy (3) get one FREE!) click  here.

I so look forward to hearing from you, and can't wait to party with all of you!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Three Ways to Sustain Learning Over the Summer

We have all heard of the "summer slide", and you know I'm not talking about water slides! What is the best advice to ensure that your child will not lose the skills and progress they made during the school year?  How can parents keep their children mentally active over the summer?

I have been an educator for 25 years and a parent for 21 years. My two youngest boys are ages seven and eight.  As you might expect, all three boys are completely different in personalities, strengths, and learning styles.

But one thing remains constant: children are children and as my dear friend says, "Children are wired to learn!"  The key is to discover your child's learning style and interests, and run with it.

Top Three Ways to Engage Kids in Summer Learning

1.  Let them play-  All children, no matter their age, learn through play, whether it is solitary play or collaborative play. This is my #1 advice to parents:  provide unstructured free time for children to explore, discover new learning on their own, take risks, experiment, and yes, make mistakes.  Just yesterday my boys took their battery-powered monster trucks outside to play.  They worked together on building a dirt pile that the trucks could climb without falling over. They did not ask for my help, I did not interrupt, and they learned a whole lot about science and forces of motion.  Kids are born curious!  Watch this short video that offers advice in a more eloquent fashion: 

2.  Child-Led Interests- Ask your child what they would like to learn this summer.  My youngest wanted to grow pumpkins in the garden because he was curious about how they grow.  So, we are having fun and learning much about the life cycle of a pumpkin! My middle son is immersed in Greek mythology and is enjoying reading, drawing, and writing his own myths.  Are you going on a summer vacation?  Study your vacation destination by researching on the Internet, looking at the Atlas, and reading books about your destination. Calculate the miles, the cost of fuel, food, hotel, campground, etc.  Encourage students to keep a journal where they can write, glue pictures and postcards, and draw their experiences before, during, and after the trip. To answer those burning questions that kids have, allow them to visit the fabulous site, Wonderopolis.

3.  Reading and Academics-  I don't recommend forcing kids to read over the summer, but rather to encourage authentic reading and content exploration. Personally, I'm not a fan of bogging down kids with keeping a reader's log. Nor, am I a huge fan of offering extrinsic rewards for reading.  If this works to motivate your child to read, then go with it.  I keep a log for my kids, but usually they want to take ownership of it and being boys, they like to post the log on the fridge to compete to see who is reading the most books.  I scatter books of interest here, there, and everywhere throughout the house. This will pique their interest, and I allow them the freedom to choose what and when they will read.  I read aloud to them at dinner, at breakfast, or whenever we need quiet time. They have chosen to be part of the summer reading program at our local library (motivated by the prizes), but I did not force the issue.  My youngest wants to learn more about geometry, and the eight year old wants to learn multiplication.  Run with whatever their interests are!  Encourage and praise them for any reading they do whether it is learning how to make a paper airplane, reading a recipe, or staying up past bedtime to read with a flashlight.

Ban the worksheets and workbooks, let kids be kids, encourage play time, learning, and watch what happens!

For many more summer activities to keep kids engaged and learning over the summer check out this amazing new blog I recently discovered that is a treasure trove of crafts, games, and outdoor summer activities for kids of all ages! Just click the picture below to visit!
Personal Creations

Have more ideas?  Please share in the comments section!

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