Organize Your Desktop Background!

Untitled design-6 copy

I wish I could take the credit for this awesome idea, but I actually stumbled upon it when I was on Pinterest searching for desktop wallpaper. If your desktop looks like mine, then you’re a cluttered mess. I usually know where everything is, but when you use three different computers like I do, you tend to forget what file is in which location. Plus, I feel like I am always working on various projects, taking screenshots, grabbing images, and saving files. I like to save files to the desktop because I can SEE it all right there. When I came across these desktop wallpaper organizers, I knew I had to make my own! So, here are some examples and then I will go through some steps to create your own. It takes about 10 minutes TOPS! For the example I am going to show you, I used Keynote to create the desktop wallpaper image.

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)


This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

So, here is where I got my great inspiration! Pinterest: Desktop Wallpaper Organizers. Most of those sites have free downloads for wallpaper organizers, but I think it’s fun to create your own and then you can create headings that work for you. These steps are for a Mac…


1. In order to make a wallpaper that has the resolution you want for your particular computer screen, you need to find out the size of your display. To do this, go to the Apple and click on System Preferences. Click on Display. In order to see what your display is, click on the button that says SCALED and you will see which display your computer uses. Now, you know what size to make your wallpaper.

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2. Open Keynote. The first thing you will want to do is format your slide so that it is the same size as your display. This is over on the right hand side of your Keynote screen.

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3. Now the fun part begins! You can insert shapes, change the color, and move them around so that the layout fits your needs. Insert text at the top of each shape. You could also fill the shapes in with a background image and adjust the transparency, but to keep it simple and clean, I just chose solid colors.  As you insert the shapes, keep in mind that you don’t want to take the shapes all the way to the top of the slide or the bottom. Leave room for the menu at the top of your desktop as well as your dock.

4. Export your slide as an image and save it to your desktop!

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5. Now, either right-click or go to System Preferences>Desktop and Screen Saver and drag in your photo! Have fun arranging your desktop and stay organized! If you want to use my desktop wallpaper organizer, just drag the below image to your desktop (my display is 1920×1080)…maybe I’ll make some more to put on here that my friends could use! Stay tuned! :)

sample desktop organizer.001



Tools to Increase Collaboration and Engagement

Web 2.0


I really want to share with you 6 of my favorite Web 2.0 tools. These tools really change the face of education because they allow teachers to collaborate with students like never before. Additionally, these tools allow and foster collaboration among classmates. These tools increase the opportunities students have to truly participate, respond, and become deeply engaged in the lesson or topic. These tools are alike in many ways, but the main similarity is that they are all tools that allow for collaboration with the teacher and class. You can use each of these tools to do a quick assessment, get instant feedback, entrance/exit slips, and allow students to participate in their own way. If there is one tool you haven’t used…try one out and see how they can enhance your teaching and your students’ learning!


The links below have some informative information in using these awesome tools with your students.

SOCRATIVE *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

NEARPOD Nearpod Link to PDF

INFUSE LEARNING *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

KAHOOT *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

PADLET Padlet Link to PDF

POLL EVERYWHERE Poll Everywhere Link to PDF


Bring the “Alphabet Book” to Life!

Untitled designIf you’re looking for a sweet way to share student work, make a video book! This example is a basic Alphabet Book created by my first graders.:

For this project we used Kid Pix, but you could easily use any drawing app ( Doodle Buddy, Drawing Pad, Draw Free) on the iPad. The cool thing about using Kid Pix was that we were able to add the letter as an animation. Each student got to pick a letter and they were to illustrate their letter. Because their letter contained an animation, we exported their drawing as a movie. We used Airdrop to transfer their videos to the main computer and from there, we imported their video into one iMovie. Once all movies were added, I called each student over to record their voiceover. When it is finished, it creates an adorable keepsake with their sweet little voices and artwork. This same type of project could work for any “video book” you wanted to create. Happy creating! :)


The Power in Educreations

I’m a huge fan of apps on the iPad that allow students and teachers the opportunity to record their thinking and share it with others. I love Explain Everything, Screen Chomp, Doceri, and Educreations. My top two are Explain Everything ($2.99) and Educreations (Free). In this post, I’d like to specifically focus on Educreations as a powerful tool in reaching goals to meet Common Core Standards. Here’s what I love about this app:

-If you visit, you can view free lessons that other teachers and students have created. For example, if you are looking for a lesson on equivalent fractions for 4th grade, you can search for that and learn from someone else.  Here is an example.

-It allows you to turn your iPad into a recordable whiteboard.

-You can insert photos directly from your camera or camera roll and annotate onto the photos while recording your voice. Additionally, you can move photos around and place them in various places on your screen all while recording.

-You can easily email recordings to parents, teachers, and students. You can also share these to the “public” on the Educreations site.


Here’s some ideas in supporting the CCSS:

-Screen recordings allow students to share information on topics in a way that is completely unique to them. For example, a student might have a difficult time conveying his or her knowledge on equivalent fractions in written form, but might find it particularly easier to “teach” it to his or her teacher via screen recording. Students will find different ways to answer questions in ways others may not have thought about.

-Screen recordings give the teacher an advantage to really “get inside a student’s head” and listen to them explain a concept or problem.

-Screen recordings aren’t just for students. Screen recordings are a powerful tool for a teacher to record lessons on content and share it with students who are absent or need a review.

-Think about using screen recordings for an assessment tool. Play their assessment for parents at P/T conferences.

-Use screen recordings as an “Exit Ticket” in making sure standards have been met and understanding has set in.

-Share a student’s creative and powerful work with others by sharing their recording on your blog, wiki, or to your class Edmodo page, to name a few.

-Use Educreations as a weekly assessment in math or reading. Think of the great digital portfolio you could build to document student’s growth.

-Have students record oral descriptions for something they’ve created on the iPad. For example, my students recently created faces using the app, Faces iMake, and I had them create screen recordings to orally describe what they had created.

-Have students practice reading text aloud and talking about key vocabulary while recording.

If you haven’t had your students participate in screen recordings, you will be amazed at the power in these tools. I encourage you to check it out…create an account on and begin the next school year by recording your student’s as they think aloud and see how it deepens your understanding about their knowledge.

A few examples:

Click here for a math example

Click here for an example of practicing oral descriptions






Sharing Made Easy with iPhoto for iPad

Have you ever had photos from an event, field trip, or project your students were working on and wanted a quick way to share them with families? Look no further than to utilize the iPhoto app on your iPad to create an awesome web journal and share the unique web address with others. In order to do this, you need the iPhoto app (free) installed on your iPad (iOS7) and an iCloud account. Once you begin, you can add text, photos, videos, and customized items. This is such an awesome resource for educators and students! The web journal acts sort of like a webpage that you can hyperlink your pictures to text and websites!

Here’s a sample of what a web journal can look like:;CAEQARoQKCtNjTTcGEVLt3WrukmkhQ;F14AB19A-9956-4805-B956-D56295D9DFC0

Sample of my Web Journal

Screenshot of my Web Journal

This is something that is very quick and easy to do. Even quicker if you take the photos/video from your iPad! Share your next event, project, or even have students create a web journal to showcase their learning! Possibilities are endless!

Parental Controls and Restrictions

We had a Social Media workshop at our school last night that was very eye-opening for parents and teachers. One quote that I walk away with, which was shared by Social Media guru, Maralyn Beck, is “Our kids are growing up on a digital playground, and no one is on digital recess duty (@KevinHoneycutt)”.  This quote really resonated with me and I felt that a small part I could play in equipping parents with some digital tools is to help them set up parental controls on their Mac and restrictions on their iOS Device. Our kiddos can accidentally stumble upon horrific content if we are not careful. Why not prevent that from happening by setting up parental controls and restrictions on the devices they use. It’s easy to do and will prevent future heartache. Once in each set of controls, you can customize what your kids can and can’t have access to. This really is a must for all parents whose children have access to a smartphone or computer with Internet access. Here’s a handout I made with some basic instructions. See below for step-by-step instructions.

Restrictions in iOS

Restrictions in iOS


For step-by-step instructions, please click on the following links:

Restrictions in iOS

Parental Controls in Mavericks

Parental Controls in Mountain Lion



Mother’s Day App Smash Project


A Mother's Day App Smash-2

I always try to do a video or something sweet to show the mom’s of my students just how special they are! This week, as we celebrate our moms, my students did some “App Smashing” (When you use one or more apps together to achieve a final product) with ABCya’s Word Cloud App, Photo and Video Transfer Over Wifi, Explain Everything, and I put it all together in iMovie.

The first step was brainstorming words that described our moms. Since I did this project with first and second graders, I knew the words written on the board would help them tremendously once they began working on their word cloud. Once we brainstormed the words, then the kids were all set to add the words they wanted (about 10 words) and customize the font, color, and layout to their word cloud. Once they finished, they saved their creation to their camera roll. Next, they used the app Photo and Video Transfer Over Wifi (a personal favorite of mine) and sent it to my iPad. From there, I saved all of the student’s work in my camera roll on my iPad. You could most certainly have each student open Explain Everything on their own iPad and do the next step at individual iPads, but from a classroom management perspective (I only have 45 minutes with my classes), I chose to do it this way. Once I had all of the student word clouds in my camera roll, I called them over one at a time and they recorded their narration with their picture in Explain Everything. Once all student’s voices were recorded, then I imported the whole movie to iMovie to add background music and text, but you could just end this project with a finished Explain Everything movie…either way works! When you are finished, you can upload this to YouTube, Vimeo, Blog, Website, etc. and make a mom’s day! Happy Mother’s Day to all those hard working moms out there!

Here’s a sample video:



Here’s a video I did a few years back that just warms my heart! Thought I’d share it!