Monday, March 26, 2018

8 Great Educational Resources

If you are like me you are always on the look for great resources! These eight resources are my favorite right now and will definitely be ones that get me through the end of the year. I hope you find them as valuable as I do.


Voxer is a free app that every person should be using (there is an upgrade option available for a fee). Voxer is a new age “walkie-talkie”. You simply push a button and your voice message is sent. Voxer is a popular tool for educators because messages and comments can be left for each other. It is a very popular method for book studies as well. I even suggest it to families of my students, as they can leave messages for each other, and it helps those who may still have spelling trouble (avoiding the dreaded auto-correct!)


YES! Jenga is a GREAT resource! You can turn these blocks into magical learning at any grade and in any subject. I have several sets (find them at Goodwill, yard sales, etc) and use them for sight words and math facts. I’ve even seen them used for literacy circles and chemistry. Word on the street is that you can buy dry erase tape and then you could use the same set for many activities!


I LOVE Canva, and use it for almost everything - newletters, twitter graphics, pamphlets, school reports, invites, and even a job portfolio! You can use Canva to make graphics for anything (I’m currently making a logo for an upcoming project) all for FREE! Use their images or upload your own. I have always used the free version and have been able to do everything I’ve wanted. I share this website with so many people and a graphic design friend recently gave it two thumbs up!

Tiny Scanner

This genius app that I loaded to my phone has became a LIFE-SAVER. I take pictures of my students work (dry erase math samples, shared writing etc) and it converts my picture to a PDF that I can save or print off! As an Intervention Specialist, I use it often as data collection on work samples, but I am using it more in my literacy groups as my groups change every thirty minutes and space to keep work up is limited. Another FREE app you must try!!


I read A LOT. I typically have three or four books going at a time, and have a hefty stack sitting ready to be read next. When I don’t have a book with me, but have some down time, I go to the Flipboard app. You pick topics of your interest, and short articles are arranged by category for easy reading. Flipboard allows you to share these to social media, email them, or save them. I have created Padlet boards and flip articles of interest into the boards so I can refer to them as needed.


If you’re not blogging, I hope you’re at least reading blogs of others! Jennifer Hogan (@jennifer_hogan) has said “Blogging is new resume”. I love reading other educator’s blog posts and their thoughts. As an aspiring school leader, I want to continue to grow and learn, and I easily get to do this through others blogs. Some bloggers to follow: #CompelledTribe of bloggers, @Jennifer_Hogan, @DavidGeurin, @SteeleThoughts @gcouros

PDF Candy

Where has this website been?!?! When my friend @debralcamp told me about this website I could have flown to Texas and gave her a big, gigantic hug! This website takes PDFs and converts it to a word document, will rotate the pages, will unlock them… I know, hugs to Debbie. Stop reading, bookmark NOW and then check out my last fun website!

Word Clouds

Have you seen those cute word clouds and think “I want one” - use ! I am working on a project now building a huge word cloud and I am beyond excited about it! You can change colors and shapes within the program. My students love it too. When we finish a book, we use word clouds for vocabulary. We recently did a word cloud as we celebrated Kindness Week in my classroom. Students love finding “their” words.

Please share your favorite websites and apps - I can’t wait to learn more!

Sunday, March 11, 2018


I’m not going to sugar coat things. I took a risk and started a project that I truly love doing this year, and it’s been a bigger undertaking than I anticipated. Do I regret it? Not one bit! It has taught me so much about myself, and especially the importance of balance.

I admit, I’m the type of person who wants things with my name attached to it to go well. I have learned the last few years that in order for things to go well, that it requires me to plan a little better, be a little more time savvy and have action plans ready. Do I miss family dinners, movies with friends, walks with the puppy? Absolutely not. Those are as important to me as ensuring that the projects that I am developing get fulfilled. It’s truly a balance.

I hosted a recent webinar on Work/Life Balance (presented by Lori Green and Mark French) for the Aspiring Leaders cohort. (Watch the webinar HERE). It is so important for us as educators (AS HUMANS!) to make time for ourselves or we risk burnout, which is the opposite of what we think we’re trying to accomplish!

Some healthy Work/Life Balance Strategies: 
  • Turn off work email at a designated time each evening
  • Set at least one weekend day free of email/work related tasks
  • Join a group that will enhance an interest of yours (having a commitment to this will ensure that you are serving yourself!)
  • Enlist support from your family and friends to ensure you’re making time for them/you
  • Get a planner, write things down (or use digital) and then reflect on your priorities 
  • Delegate or share tasks when you can. Rely on others. Build others up!
  • Get well needed rest 
Most importantly, it is important to take care of yourself. If you are showing signs of burnout, stress, anxiety, etc., please seek professional advice. You’re not alone.