EDExpo 2015

I am super excited about attending EDExpo 2015 this year! In just a few weeks siperintendents, curriculum coordinators, and retailers of educational brick & mortars and online stores will converge on Atlanta, Georgia for the premier showcase of educational supplies, materials, furnishings, and products.

I was at last year's event in Dallas, and enjoyed learning about some pretty awesome products. I'm really looking forward to going to Atlanta, and can't wait to see what's in store this year! There promises to be innovative products covering every facet of learning....from instructional materials, teaching aids, & technology products...to educational games, toys, and supplies! Can't wait to discover them!

About 50 bloggers are going to be touring the exhibit floor, looking for the latest and greatest products that you're going to want to have in your classroom. I can't wait to meet up with old friends and new faces! What a terrific combination.....meet up with bloggy friends and discovering new & innovative products for our classrooms! Stay tuned.....three more weeks & we'll be sharing all about the latest gotta-have-its for all of our classrooms!

Sew a Circuit! #STEM

Being one of the STEM mentors for my building, I get to learn about, do, & be trained for some super cool stuff! Earlier this week, we learned about e-textiles...wearable electronics. The trainers brought
some examples: backpacks, purses, bracelets, and shirts with LED lights sewn right in (anyone thinking ugly Christmas sweater yet? haha). We actually made a bookmark during the training.

It is surprisingly simple! To do a similar product, you'll need

As part of the lesson on circuits, you can let kiddos explore with the batteries, LED lights, & some alligator clips....can they make their LED light up? Can they get two lights one one battery to light up? Can they get more than two? After they've discovered that you need positive to positive & negative to negative, you're ready to move into creating the bookmark.
Planning is the first step. They'll need to map out their design. Where will the battery pack be sewn on? Where will the LED go? They'll need to map out the line of stitches that will lead from the positive side of the battery pack to the positive side of the LED....& the same for the negative sides. **Make sure that the lines of stitches do not touch or cross. Doing so will cause the battery to short out.**

After planning, you're ready to start sewing. Starting on either the positive or negative side of the battery pack, take at least 3 stitches through the top hole to attach the pack to the felt. Use a simple straight stitch to follow the line of stitches previously planned (I chose a zigzag for mine). When you get to the spot where the LED will be placed, again make sure to use 3 stitches or so to attach the LED to the felt. The three stitches will help make sure that there is a good connection.  Then do the same for the negative side. 

After the pieces are sewn on, you're ready to add the decorative elements. I simply used felt to make a rocket ship on mine. Some people designed theirs with flowers, aliens, monsters, kites, etc.

That's it! It's pretty simple & extremely cool! 
I'm really looking forward to doing this in the classroom with my kiddos! They're going to flip! We're also looking in to the possibility of adding this activity to our Science/Math Family Night. And remember when I asked if anyone was thinking ugly Christmas sweater? How cool would this be as a PBL where kiddos design & create their own ugly Christmas sweater?! How would you incorporate this activity in your classroom or school? I'd love to hear more ideas!

Just a little overwhelmed....

Anyone else feel like they could use a personal assistant? And I'm not even talking about the  dishes, laundry, & cooking here at home (although it would be MARvelous to have an assistant for that! Hint! Hint! Mr. PrimaryInspired!). Am I the only one who is feeling positively, absolutely
& exhausted 
this year? 
It's NOT just me .... right? It seems like we just have so many new things on our shoulders this year: new assessments to administer, new instructional strategies that are to be implemented, new meetings we're expected to attend, not to mention a new state assessment to administer (which we have not seen)....just too many news to keep track of! 
You too?

Phew! Just a little...stressed, I'd say. I've decided the prescription to combat this feeling of being overwhelmed comes in just two words:
I snapped a picture of my desk as I left my classroom this evening. If this isn't a sign of someone who needs organization & balance, I don't know what is! 

One of my first steps toward overcoming this stress is to tame this disorganized mess! Umm...how can you not feel overwhelmed when you're faced with this each day? My good friend, Jen, over at 4mula Fun has an awesome series on her blog about organization. I've gotten some great ideas for getting my classroom under control. I am so looking forward to getting in there & whipping it back into shape.
Now. As far as balance......I have some ideas, but I admit that I need some more ideas! 
How do you achieve balance? How do you balance everything that's expected of you & keep all of the plates spinning successfully? Please share below! I'd love to hear!

First Day Back -- Now a Snow Day & BIG SALE!

Cuh.RA.Zy! Today was our first day back. So happy to see my kiddos! Then - SURPRISE! - Snow day tomorrow! You know what we always say....."There's SNOW better way to spend a day than with a $1 Sale!". Make sure to stay with me til the end to see all the terrific products that are on sale! There are over 100!!

So. First day back. We had a great day...got lots of things done (but not everything -- am I the only one that happens to?)

We made sure to disinfect our classroom. We had SO much illness before Christmas with 25% of my kiddos out -- including ME -- those last two weeks before break, I am on a mission to keep us as all as healthy as we can! Did you see my post about staying healthy in & out of the classroom? Here are some of the things I started doing TODAY:

  • Made sure to keep my drink away from kid areas like my small group table.
  • Moved the community tissues AWAY from my desk.
  • Disinfected the handles to the cabinets & the classroom door.
  • Washed my hands even more than I already did.
  • Disinfected our classroom tables.
  • Moved dry erase markers to containers that only I can access for only me to use.

Wish we were back in school tomorrow...I had have so much planned for us to do!