Welcome to the Hop! I am so fortunate to belong to an amazing networking group of bloggers that have truly become friends of mine in every sense of the word. Today we're hopping to each other's blogs for a little visit! I am crazy excited to welcome Erin from Kleinspiration today and you'll find my post on a Common Core math activity over at Lynda's adorable Curls and a Smile blog. At the bottom of this post, you'll also see a bunch of my other blog buds who are blog hopping today and would love to have you visit!

Tiny Tech Tips: by Erin Klein

I'm so excited to be a part of the Blog Hop and to be featured on one of my favorite blogs, Sunny Days in Second Grade!  Denise and I are great friends, and it's an honor to be featured on her blog.  I must admit, I've been a Sunny Days fan since the beginning, and I am always in awe of the terrific resources Denise shares.  

I'm the author of Kleinspiration, a technology resource sharing blog.  I often post about sites and resources that appeal to a K - 12 audience.  I do, however, teach second grade.  I welcome you to click here and connect with me through my social networks and become a follower of my blog.  I love meeting and collaborating with teachers.

Where is the best place to find appropriate technology tools for lower elementary?

Two resources that I adore are: Twitter and Pinterest.  I find that both sites offer a rich array of teachers to collaborate with, ideas to build from, a platform to ask questions, and mentors to learn from.  Today, I will focus on Pinterest; however, if you're interested in getting started with Twitter, I've created this ten minute Twitter tutorial: click here to view.  

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pinterest: a bookmarking tool

In effort to stay organized, I use Pinterest to bookmark my many great technology finds.  For example, when I'm at a conference or workshop and hear of a great website, I 'Pin It' to one of my Pinterest boards.  At first, I struggled with setting up my boards.  Many great Pinners set their boards up differently.  

In regards to technology, I've found that the following categories work well:
  • EduTech resources
  • iPad & Mobile Devices
  • Technology Projects
  • Social Media
  • Tech Gadgets
  • Social Media
  • Flipped Class
  • Android
My largest technology board is my EduTech resources category.  This was my first technology board I created.  After I realized that most of what I was Pinning could be sub-categorized into the above sections, I began to create the additional boards in effort to maintain a better stream of organized content.  Of course, this is still a work in progress - as it should be (I'm adding content daily and revising as each board grows).

Pinterest: a tool to find resources

There are so many wonderful teachers to follow on Pinterest.  If you're looking to follow a few Pinners who often share great technology resources, I highly recommend the following:

There are many more great EduTech Pinners, these are just a few that I learn from daily.

Pinterest: a few of my favorite EduTech finds

Introduce Content in an Exciting Way: tons of pre-made trailers per grade level

Make green screen movies in your classroom!

48 great sites for you to use in your classroom

A wonderful, must have resource to learn from and to connect with teachers

Tons of Interactive games for your SMART Board and your iPad

Thanks to Denise for allowing me to be a guest on her site.  Have a wonderful summer!


Erin Klein


Don't mean to cause alarm, but dang did I get the cutest glasses from Dollar Tree! I was at a loss of what to do for my volunteers this year when I was roaming around the 'Tree, considering maybe picture frames with the kids signatures or something, when I spotted these cardboard tube gift containers. Super cute, right? I had no idea what I could put in them (although I debated with myself for a while) so I left them on the shelf and kept strolling. As soon as I turned the corner, I spotted the glasses! Of course, I turned around, jumped over the pile of marbles spilled on the floor, knocked over some off brand soap on display and sprinted back to the cardboard tubes and by some miracle, they fit perfectly inside! I scooped up 5 tubes, searched out 5 perfect glasses, got some shreddy stuff and made a beeline for the register. I may be embellishing the speed at which that all took place, but that's what it felt like...

I had 5 volunteers that I really wanted to acknowledge with a little something, but even a little something starts to add up when you have five gifts to buy. Even so, I felt like I cheaped out a bit with just the glass and cute container. I toyed with the idea of a liquor store gift card, but in the end I remembered seeing these really pretty bottle stoppers at Pier One a while ago. Luckily, they were still there! They were about $7 each if I remember correctly. I just snugged the topper into the shreddy stuff in the glass then slid the glass into to the perfect little cardboard tube and added a little personal note.

So for under $50 total, I was able to recognize my volunteers with something that I hope was a little unique and thoughtful.

P.S. They also had "congratulations" and "happy birthday" glasses. So, go...go on, run before they're all gone!


So, how's this for exciting news?!  I am a finalist for the Really Good Stuff Education Blog Awards!
I can't even figure out how to describe what I'm feeling...honored? overwhelmed? humbled? thankful? grateful? appreciative? Yeah, all of those things actually and some more I'm sure I'm leaving out. Wow.

I started this blog as a way for me to connect to other teachers and find my way back to the passion I knew I still had for this profession, even in light of some crazy things happening to all of us around the country. I've definitely met that goal for myself, and being honored as a finalist for this award is just icing on the cake - especially considering the amazing company I have in my category!

That old cliche' that it's an honor just to be nominated really is the truth, but if you feel so inclined to vote for my blog in the Elementary 1-3 category, I wouldn't hate it. (Gosh, it's hard to figure out how to ask you to vote without just asking you to vote...I'm not very good at this, huh?)

Click {HERE} to get to the voting page. There are several categories of nominated blogs. You'll find me in the 1-3 group. You can only vote once for one of the blogs in each category between now and midnight on Friday, June 22.

Thanks friends!
Part of the end of the year ritual always includes cleaning things that you somehow neglected for way too long. For me, that included my class laptops. These laptops are in my library corner and hold two castoff laptops that work  *just enough*  if you cross your fingers on a good day for the kids to access AR. That being said, they are used constantly throughout the day and I have the kids trained to close them at dismissal and wind up the headphones. So, what I'm trying to say here is that there really is a good reason why I didn't really notice this <gag> grossness that had accumulated on them!
Really, can that BE any more disgusting? When I got the notice to turn them in for the summer, I knew there was no way I was going to return them in this condition. Never fear, with the most minimal effort about ten minutes later they looked brand spanking new!

Now, I'm going to share my cleaning secret but I can't take any liability if you try it with different results or damage to your 'puters. Mine are so janky that I was willing to risk it. And no harm befell my little laptops. So, have you guessed what I used? That's right! The Magic Eraser my friends!

That thing really is magic. Like scary magic. I don't know what is in them or how they're made, but I'm sure it's some sort of dark secret that mere mortals are not meant to know. I used a brand new eraser and squeezed it so that it was just about dry and then swiped it over the grime. I rinsed it a few times between the two laptops and man did they look sparkly clean when I was done!

I swiped a few other neglected nooks and crannies before it started to disappear in my hands (more magic?) but I started to feel like I was in a commercial dancing around my room overly excited to be cleaning some nasty crevices. I finally came to my senses and put a stop to that nonsense. I  capital-H HATE cleaning, but some of that crazy magic must have taken over for a few minutes. It was scary, but I escaped the spell unharmed before I went too wild with myself. Nice try, Mr. Clean. Nice try.

Well I have already transitioned into the phase of summer when I forget what day of the week it is! Love it! I am also loving my coffee in a real mug that is actually still hot when I drink it! Ahhh...it's the little things...
What, you guys don't make pretty pictures in your morning latte??

Thursday was our last day with the kids and it was just a half day. Of course I didn't really start packing up until Wednesday after school - but I actually like doing it last minute. I don't like to break down the room too much while I still have to have the kids function in that room for a few days. But on Wednesday I did indeed bust a move so that when the kids came in on Thursday morning, they were a little freaked out!

The only thing left for them to help with was to empty and clean their desks. After we all accomplished that, we pushed the desks out of the way and had some fun playing Twister, Jenga and Boggle. It was actually a little hard for them to keep themselves occupied without the computers or the whiteboards that they love!

When it was time for lunch in the room, I realized that we had nowhere to sit! It was rainy and nasty and we were being invaded by mosquitos for the past week or so, so outside was not an option. As I looked around, I noticed that I had a few cardboard boxes left from packing that I didn't use. Inspiration struck and we turned those boxes upside down and they became our lunch tables!

It was actually pretty fun! We had a little impromptu picnic lunch and watched a movie together during our last little bit of time as a second grade class. One giant group hug later and off they went - down the halls and out the doors into what I hope is a fun and carefree summer for them all!
My last day of school was Friday and then first thing Saturday hubs and I packed up and then hopped in the car and headed right to Cocoa Beach for a fantastic Florida Blogger Meet-up!

I must say, when we pulled into town, I was um, unimpressed with the whole area. As a matter of fact, I posted in our little network group something like "I'm here and ....ick!" To be fair, it was nasty and rainy and too late to really go to the beach and way too early to go to sleep. Our hotel was farther away from the "action" than I thought and I was just feeling generally bummed. We explored a bit and decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. Thanks to Yelp, we found the most incredible restaurant EV-ER! If you're ever in the area do not miss The Fat Snook. whoa. Even though the hubs stepped in a puddle up to his ankles on the way in, we had a great dinner and things started to turn around.

We scoped out the area a bit more and then headed back to the room, praying for some sunshine the next day for the meet-up - and guess what? It worked and it was a BEAUTIFUL sunny day! I will be the first to admit that town looks a heck of a lot better bathed in sunshine!

So we all met at a fun little restaurant on the pier and had a blast getting to know each other. It felt very official with the sign that Penny from Penniless teacher made for the event.

We took some shots in inside at the table...

Then we were supposed to take a "silly" shot, but Jen in the front got into it a bit more than the rest of us. Except Caitlin back there, she got into it. I'm pretty sure I crossed my eyes...but I guess it wasn't really captured on film. Sorry Jen!

Even though we hung Jen out to dry on the silly pic, she still let us use the props she made.

Then of course, we had to actually head out to the beach to get our toes in the sand for a true Floridan shot!

Starting in the back is Caitlin from Kindergarten Smiles (who also happens to teach at my school and is as nice as she is ridiculously adorable), Me, Tara from 4th Grade Frolics, Mor from A Teacher's Treasure, Jen from The Teacher's Cauldron with adorable Baby B, Stacy from Simpson's Superstars, Brittany from Sweet Seconds and finishing the back row are some faithful followers.
Down in front we have Andi from Pencil, Glue and Tying Shoes, Penny from Penniless Teacher and Fern from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas.

Then as we were leaving I found the most awesome photo op that I wished I had seen before everyone was gone. So, I couldn't resist and the hubs and I got on and gave it a go anyway. That will for sure be the one and only time I will actually be upright on a surfboard!

It was amazing to put faces to the blogs that I stalk regularly and to meet some new friends too. Can't wait to do it again!

So, did my title grab your attention? Of course I don't mean to really sock your students, but I do have something else that you can give them that they might like a lot more!

One of the sayings I use in my classroom is reserved for VERY special accomplishments. I only utter it once in a while, when a kid really deserves it. For example, one little chickie of mine brought in a notebook of writing that she had been keeping at home all year. That in and of itself is amazing, but as I looked through it I realized that it was actually filled with writings that we did in class that she went home and did AGAIN on her own! She wrote second and third drafts of things that we started in class or just did as a snapshot assignment. So she deserved a great big "You rocked my socks off!" from me for that!

So, I thought as a nice way to send off my kids, I'd let them in a little secret - that really, they all rocked my socks off in some way or another, even if I never said it directly to them. So here's a glimpse of this year's end of the year gift:

If you're lucky you'll find some cute kid's socks at Dollar Tree. Otherwise, look in the clearance section of Target or Walmart. Even plain white socks would be cute with the tag - and they'd still get the message.  Click on the pic below to get the sheet of tags from GoogleDocs. I made them in a few different colors too. Enjoy!

Check out some more great ideas here at Rachel Lynette's linky!

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