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Using the Explore Tool with Young Learners

Have you tried the Explore Tool in Google Docs or Slides with your students?  If not, you must! What I like about it is that it is so easy to use; even a kindergartener can do it! 

This smart tool uses the content within your document to help determine the topic, related research and images as you Explore.  This allows young learners, like mine, to research and/or add images safely from within Google Docs or Slides. 

My students have used the Explore tool primarily to insert images. They type or use Voice Typing; another favorite, to create their document. Then, they simply click on the Explore icon and related images appear. My students find the one they like and press insert. The image is embedded into the document. 

Easy peasy. 

Integrating technology doesn't always have to be hard on you or your students with tools like Explore.

What are your favorite Google tech tools?

#TeacherFriends at the SCKC

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Southern California Kindergarten Conference (#SCKC).  It was an awesome experience of learning from the best and most inspiring teachers and bloggers.

It was an honor to finally meet Debbie Clement, moderator of the Twitter chat, #TeacherFriends.

If you have not seen Debbie Clement present, you must! Her joy for the arts and early childhood is without a doubt never ending.  Her words resonated in so many ways. I laughed, I cried and was utterly amazed by her. I can't wait to see her again! 

Want to get a sense of who Debbie is? This blog post is one of my favorites.

I've been a blogger for almost six years. Along the way, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best teacher educators and bloggers.  Deedee Wills and I collaborated for a blog book study; long before Pinterest and IG.  

To be able to meet her at the #SCKC was a great moment! 

She is the best! As I watched her present, I could see that to her, learning is #morethanaworksheet. It involves collaboration and learning through engagement.  

Thank you Deedee for welcoming me! You are always welcomed into my classroom!

Finally, I had a total #fangirl moment when I met Cara from The First Grade Parade

Anytime she likes anything on my IG account, I have a Sally Field moment. She is so smart and petite, like me! ;)

Thank you, #TeacherFriends for inspiring others; like me and for sharing your passion with other educators.  It was a great weekend! 


Happy New Year! 

This year I choose HOPE as my #OLW.  

As I think of what I would like to focus on this year, I think of HOPE. My heart yearns for HOPE as I move forward this year.

HOPE for my family. HOPE for myself as a wife, mother and educator. HOPE for my students. HOPE for our future in these uncertain times.

I have always been a dreamer and believer that anything is possible.  May HOPE be my guiding light in the new year.

STEM Resources for Little Builders

Are you trying to integrate more STEM into your classroom?  

Me, too!

I've gathered a collection of STEM resources for littles builders.  These are some of my favorite items for the classroom.

Our students are digital natives. We know that they are using technology in and out of the home. Why not give them the best technology has to offer! These tools will challenge your students in new ways. 

Bloxels allows you to create your own video game by creating your own character using the Bloxel blocks and the Bloxel Builder app. This game combines both physical building and interactive online play. 

I am excited to use Learning Resources Code & Go Robot during Hour of the Code.  This little bot is a perfect way to introduce coding to my students.  

PlayOsmo has been a classroom staple for a few years. The games allow for collaboration and increases in difficulty. Tangrams and Words are classroom favorites.

STEM is all about constructing and creating. That is what I love about it.  These engineering tools have endless possibilities and uses.

Snap Circuits are an oldie but goodie. It is great for someone who likes to discover how things work. 

If you are working on force and motion, a Marble Run is a must have tool.  

Brain Flakes, Squigz, ETI Construction Toys, and MagnaFormers are perfect for open ended building. These toys are fantastic for the engineers in our classroom. 

Lastly, don't forget everyday items like cardboard boxes, paper, and other recyclable household materials. They are great for many STEM related projects that your students might work on throughout the school year.  

What I love the most about all of these STEM resources for little builders is that they help students become creators and thinkers.  We all know that this is what our students need the most; opportunities to shine.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.  



Seems easy. But, sometimes it is hard.

When I began this blog six years ago, it was fun. It was carefree. It was easy.

But, then, it became complicated. 

I began to question myself. Is my content worthy? Do teachers like me? Am I good enough?

This in part is why I have blogged less and less.

But, I miss it. I miss sharing #thegood that is happening in my classroom. I miss having an outlet to tell my story with my students.

So, I've decided to tell #mystory.

This blog will be my outlet to share my teaching journey. It may not be picture perfect or Pinterest worthy but it will be real.

And, if you are still reading....Thank you!

Thank you for spending a bit of your time here. I hope that you find something that inspires you in some way because that is what you have done for me. I am a better teacher because you.  So, thank you!

One last thought....

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