Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making Clickable Links on PDF Files for Mac Users

I have to say that I LOVE my Mac!  My husband talked me into spending the money on one about 3 years ago when I was in grad school.  I'm soooo glad he did!  I would never go back to a PC after using a Mac.  It was worth every penny.  However, sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out how to do things on a Mac.  It does seem like there's always a way I just have to figure it out.  

It took me awhile to find the answer to this dilemma, but I now know how to make a clickable link on a PDF file on my Mac.  I would always put the links in my Powerpoint document but the links would get lost once I saved it as a PDF file.  I thought I was going to have to break down and buy Adobe (way too expensive).  There is a solution though!

*Edited to add - If you have updated your Mac to Mountain Lion, this will no longer work.  The new update has taken this feature away from Preview.  :(


So if you have the same problem, check out this video tutorial to solve it!


I hope you can find this useful!

If you're interested in my Beginning Sounds Activities, you can click on the picture below to go to my TPT store.




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More, Tell Me More

Step into 2nd Grade is having a fun linky party, and I'm joining up.  I'm loving reading all about other blogs!  


So let me tell you a little more about me!

1.  I spent almost 10 years as a United States Marine before becoming a teacher.  I finished all of my high school classes early and left for boot camp when I was 17.  When the rest of my graduating class was graduating high school, I had already graduated boot camp and was going to school to learn my new job in the Marine Corps.  It was a great experience, and I met some fabulous people.  I highly recommend young adults consider military service, especially for those who aren't sure what they want to do in life.  It's the only place I know that will pay you and train you for a job at the same time!


2.  I've had the opportunity to live in a lot of places due to the military.  I've lived in:

Millington, TN - near Memphis and I did part of my military job training
Jacksonville, FL - where I finished my military job training
Jacksonville, NC - my 1st duty station 
Pensacola, FL - this is where we are now but it's my 2nd time here
Okinawa, Japan - where I met my husband
29 Palms, CA  - near Palm Springs and CRAZY hot
San Diego, CA - beautiful city but CA is not for me

Later this year, we're off to Hawaii for our next duty station!  So excited!

3.  I hate, hate, hate snakes.  Since I do resource, I haven't had to teach science yet.  I have no idea how I would teach a reptile unit.  I would probably have nightmares for a week.  I can't even look at a picture of a snake or see one on tv.  Ughhhhh.....I keep my fingers crossed that I never need to teach a reptile unit.

4.  My favorite hobby is READING.  I am a really fast reader and read a ton of books.  I have a Nook and the Nook app on my phone.  So I'm always reading whenever I have a free moment.  I've read so many books this summer I can't even remember them all.  My favorite author is Jodi Piccoult.  I LOVE her books.  Here are some of my favorite:

      

 5.  When I was a teenager, a radio station said that on the 1st day of the month you must say "rabbit, rabbit" for good luck.  I've been doing it ever since.  On the 1st of the month, I make sure I say "rabbit, rabbit" and I have for years.  I know it's ridiculous but I'm afraid of the bad luck I "might" get if I don't say the words!

6.  We have a Great Dane puppy (I use that word lightly) named Harley.  She's only 7 months old and already weighs over 80lbs!  She is seriously the best dog ever.  Sooo sweet and good with the kids.  She follows me around the house wherever I go and just wants to be loved on 24/7.  I can't wait to see how big she gets when she's full grown.






Friday, July 20, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth means a FREEBIE!

My husband and I just got back (at 3am...soooo sleepy) from taking the triplets to Disney World.  It was a really fun trip but EXHAUSTING!!!  I feel like I need a vacation to recover from this vacation.  We are plum wore out, yet my children seem to have tons of energy.  Go figure!!!  Here's a few things I learned during this vacation:

1.  6 is really a magical age to go to Disney.  My kids REALLY believe that they saw a real-life mermaid, flew into space, and that if you try and steal a ruby from an Egyptian tomb you WILL turn into a skeleton.  I didn't have the heart to tell them any of it was fake.  They might as well enjoy the magic before they become wise to the ways of the world.

2.  Although Disney was fun, the condo's pool and hot tub were the BIG hits.  Next vacation, we're saving our money, picking a random hotel with a pool and hot tub, and staying there.  The kids will be ecstatic and we'll save money.

3.  Purchasing Camelbacks was the best idea EVER.  We got one for each kid and ourselves.  We filled them up in the morning and placed a frozen ice pack inside it to help keep the water cool.  We didn't have to buy 300 bottles of water, we never heard any complaining that people were thirsty, and we all stayed relatively hydrated.

Since my family got to experience the magic and wonder of the happiest place on Earth, I wanted to give you guys something a little fun, too!  I made this before we left but didn't manage to get the post up before leaving.  Here's a FREEBIE for all of you.....just because!  

One of my followers had asked me to make games for Hard and Soft C & G.  This first game is the FREEBIE for you guys!  It's a game focusing on words with the hard and soft g sounds.  You can get it by clicking on the picture below.


You may also be interested in this game that concentrates on the Hard and Soft C game.  You can purchase it from my TPT store for $2 by clicking on the picture.

I've also spent some time this summer going back and revising some of the first products that I made.  If you've bought some of these games before, you may want to go and redownload.  The majority of changes have to do with changing the font, resizing the cards, adding a blank page, or adding more words.  Here are some of the revised games.  Click on the pictures to take you to the game.

The Silent E in Space game has students practice reading CVC and CVCe words.  These are all words that are changed by adding an 'e' to the word (such as at and ate, can and cane, cap and cape).


Double Dipped features CVC and CVCe words with the -ed ending.  This way students can practice whether the words skated and popped are read with a short vowel or long vowel sound.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Classroom Theme and Pictures of my Class

Surfin Through Second is having a Classroom Theme Linky Party.  It started a few days ago, but I'm considering myself fashionably late to this party.  :)

I've never shared pictures of my classroom on here, so I figure I might as well do that at the same time.  I do have some changes I want to make this year to make it more uniform.  My classroom has kinda been a hodgepodge of things I've found online on other great teacher blogs.  I've kinda had a running theme of blue, green, and pink.  This year I would like it more cohesive in a blue & green theme.  I don't want to get too crazy since we're moving to Hawaii in December though.  

So let's start the tour and discuss the things I want to change!  I did take these pics at the end of last school year though.

Here's the bulletin board in the hallway.  For some reason, we all have vertical boards which is really weird.  I left this up all year long because I loved it.   I need to come up with something else for this school year, but I haven't really thought about it yet.  Any ideas?

Here's what you see when you come in my door.  The frames are on the right and the cork board is on the left.

Then I have 3 bulletin boards and a whiteboard along the right hand wall.  I also use the whiteboard as a background for my document camera and projector.

1st I have a bunch of task cards hanging up.  Next year, I think I'm going to take these down and use this to display my schedule and the Common Core objectives I'm teaching.

Then I have my math board.  These were the anchor charts from our division unit.  If you're looking for  something like this for a division unit click {here} or a multiplication unit click {here}.


 This is where I put all of our vowel patterns as we learn them.  I got these {here} for free!  

Here's my "whole group" area.  I teach resource so I don't have a large group and this works.

I have these great windows.  But when the blinds are open, the light is right in your eyes.  So instead, I use them to hang anchor charts on.

Here's the room from the back.

Here's where I do almost all of my teaching and work.  I don't have a teacher desk because I use this area.

This is how I organize all my stuff!  The crate has individual folders with all their IEP and data stuff.  The piles of paper on the floor grow and grow throughout the week until I get around to doing something with it.

 Here's the other back wall.

I also have a storage room that is fairly large.  I shouldn't let you see it....but here it is.

YIKES!  Somebody needs to clean that room out!

And here is my 2nd oldest daughter.  Her middle school is right next to my school.  Middle school here doesn't start till 9:05!!!  Everyday, she would come to school with me and hang out.  She'd do her homework or help me or help one of my son's Kindergarten teacher.  In August, she's going to go to high school and no longer come to school with me.  I sure am going to miss her.  But I won't miss waiting on her to get out of school at 4:05 so I can finally go home!



 So to make my room more cohesive, I've made a new set of alphabet cards in blue and green.  I am working on making a set of Common Core I Can statements in blue and green.  Maybe I'll eventually get them done.  I've listed these in my TPT store.  Click on the picture to check them out.


So there you go!  That's my classroom and my mix-match of a theme.  Don't forget to link up by clicking {here}.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Changing Borders to Frames: Tricks of the Trade #2

If you guys are anything like me, you're always on the lookout for cute frames to make your teaching products more attractive and appealing.  However, I had made the mistake of buying several products that I thought were frames but found out they were borders after the purchase.  This latest addition of Tricks of the Trade #2 is going to show you how to change some of your borders to frames.



If you don't know the difference, a frame typically has a white background in the middle that makes it easier to add text and pictures on.  A border has a transparent middle so that your text and pictures can still be seen.  Sometimes I want just a border, but most often I like to use frames.  

Here's an example of a border I bought and wanted to use but it didn't work right for this file.  You'll see the red arrow is pointing to a cute border but my text and pictures don't look right on the blue dotted background. 

If you click on this tutorial, I'll show you how I changed the border and made it into a frame.


Once I got done with the tutorial, my cover page now looks like this.  Now my text is easier to read and it looks more appealing.  And best of all, I don't feel like I wasted my money buying a border when I really wanted a frame!

Kinder-Craze has a great tutorial on how to add a favicon on your blog.  I did mine yesterday.  I believe I have it working (even though I can't see it myself).  Can anybody see if I have a brown puzzle piece on an aqua background as my favicon?  If you want to add a favicon to your blog, check out the tutorial by click on her button.


I'm kinda enjoying myself making these tutorials.  I have a few in mind that I want to make during the next few weeks.  Does anybody have any requests of things you might like to see?  I hope you're all enjoying your summer and not sweltering too much in this heat!



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Creating Printables: Tricks of the Trade

As I was creating some stuff yesterday, I realized that I've learned a lot in the last year and a half since I started making games and printables for my classroom.  As a first year ESE teacher (what we call sped), I didn't have a lot of resources.  Another ESE teacher who was about to retire had given me a bunch of stuff, but a lot of it was old and it felt overwhelming.  Usually I was wanting something very specific that was tailored to my students' needs.  That's when I decided I would try to make my own stuff, and it took off from there!  I wish I had a copy of the very first game I made, but I've since revamped it and saved over the original.  I'm amazed at how different my creating is now compared to when I first started out.

I thought I would share with you guys some of the awesome things I've learned that make it easier to create your own stuff.  Some of the things I've learned through tutorials from other great bloggers and others have just been trial and error.


I use Powerpoint to create things so this video will show you how to group several objects at once.  This will let you move several objects at once as a group.  I also show you how to use the nudge feature (amazing & simple) and how I measure distance to keep things evenly spaced.  Please ignore my loud children in the background!!!




One video that I've found from I Teach, What's Your Super Power? teaches you how to change the color on a background or picture.  How awesome is that?  I've been LOVING it!!!  The only word of caution I have is to make sure that the vendor that you brought the background or clip art from allows you to do color changes.  Click on her blog button to check out the video.


Making It As A Middle School Teacher has an awesome tutorial on how to use the website Wordmark.It to easily see your fonts and choose the best one for a printable.  Click on her blog button to check it out.


If you're like me, you have a  font OBSESSION!  I love fonts, especially FREE ones!  Hello First Grade! is an awesome blog by itself......but then she started adding free fonts.  Oh man, you can't get better than that!  Click on her blog button and it will take you to her page.  As you scroll down the page, you will see she has a list of all her fonts on the right side.......then set aside half an hour to download them all!


Do you have any great tips to share that make creating easier?




Monday, July 2, 2012

July Currently & a Giveaway

I'm linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for July's Currently. 


I don't know why I've never linked up before.  I love reading these every month!  So here's mine:


It's 11:30 here, and I really should be getting to sleep.  Why in the world am I still awake?  Those kiddos of mine are going to be knocking on my door bright and early in the morning.  Right now, I'm feeling like my to-do list is very long.  We have a ton of stuff scheduled for this month, which means a lot of work for me.  We're taking the triplets to their very first Disney World trip......I may be more excited than they are!  I also need to make time to go visit my family in GA before summer is over.  Plus, there's a bunch of events scheduled with friends this month.  It's a lot going on!

My favorite read aloud is SkippyJon Jones by Judy Schachner.  I LOVE her books.  I will admit they can be difficult to read at first, especially with the Spanish words.  But after a few times, you really get the hang of it.  Her books are adorable!

The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson has been my go-to book for guided reading.  I really need to reread parts of it this summer and make a good, solid plan for next year's reading groups.

Surfin' Through Second is having an awesome giveaway with some super great prizes.  You don't want to miss out on this opportunity!  Click on the picture below to check out all the cool stuff you can win.  I've donated my Aloha Sight Word game, and there's tons of other really great stuff!


I hope everyone is having a great summer!