Monday, December 31, 2012

Market Mondays: Reflector App

Since my class has been piloting the 1:1 iPad program at my school for the past 4 months, I have come across a lot of cool (and not so cool) apps.  One of the best "tools" apps I have found is Reflector.  Many of us have heard of Apple TV.....and even own one. (I do at home).  They are great little gizmos.  And the thought of being able to wireless connect your iPad to your Apple TV at school is a wonderful thing.  Easily allowing you to stream movies, show your iPad screen, and more to your class.  What's not so cool?  The price!  At $99, the Apple TV is an expensive technology gadget. And when you are working on a teacher's budget (gasp - or worse a district's!!!) that is a lot of money to pay.  Especially when you need to factor in the cords and other accessories you need to make it work.  This is where Reflector enters.

For the low cost of $14.99 (single user license) or $49.99 (5 person multi-license) you can download this fabulous app and have it do the same EXACT thing that Apple TV would do.  It allows you to wirelessly mirror your iPhone or iPad to your Mac or PC.  Unlike other apps, you download it to your actual laptop or desktop instead of your device.  Then by simply hitting the home button on your iPad (or iPhone) and swishing to the left, you activate AirPlay.  Instantly, mirroring your device!  Display it through your LCD projector and your entire class can see what you are doing.

I use this app DAILY in my classroom.  It allows me to walk students through what they should be doing, or quickly show them something cool.  Better yet, I can have my students become the teachers and mirror their iPad by simply activating AirPlay on their device.

So let's break it down....

  • Simply put - COST! At $14.99 you are saving almost $85 compared to the Apple TV. 
  • Ease of installation and use.  You can purchase, install and implement all without ever leaving  your desk and within 10 minutes.  Try to make it in and out of an Apple Store in that time!
  • Features - did I mention you can record what your doing to save for later?  Imagine the possibilities!  Allow students to access a lesson even after it's done.
  • You can download it on either a Mac or PC.
  • Sometimes the connection is dropped. But for the amount of times I use this product and the number of times this has actually happened it really doesn't matter. Plus, from what I hear, the Apple TV has the same issue. 
  • You can only connect either an iPhone or iPad - no other devices.  For me, not that big of a deal since my school is an Apple product school.  But for others who are not, this app would not work for you.  
So, overall I truly give this product a 5 out of 5 stars.  Check it out today - for $15 what do you have to lose?

Any other fabulous apps that you have found that work the same way? Share below!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Linky Party: First 12 of '12!

To jump start myself back into blogging again, I'm joining up with a fun Linky Party that Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is hosting.  The idea behind it is that you post your first 12 posts of 2012.  It was actually fun looking back, as I sometimes forget things I've posted. :-)  Somehow throughout the year, I forgot about my themed days of Market Mondays and Website Wednesday.....I may just have to bring those back! 

1/12/12 - Wiki With Us This post I talk about about my themed days and also introduce my wiki where I have a lot of my free products and ideas available to you. 

1/16/12 - Market Mondays: Art Drying Rack This art drying rack is still by far the best one I've seen yet.  A lot of my colleagues opted for the same one I had but a few got different ones. I still love mine the best.

1/18/12 - Website Wednesdays: Edmodo  Edmodo is one of my all time favorite collaborative websites that I still use with my students.  Especially since we now have 1:1 iPads in my classroom.  If you haven't checked it out, you simply must.

1/23/12 -  Market Mondays: Store More Chair Pocket Deluxe These fabulous chair pockets where one of the best buys I've made for my classroom.  I still stand behind them! :-)
1/26/12: Building Elements
1/25/12 - Website Wednesdays: Artsonia This next post is all about Artsonia.  A fabulous website that you can use to search for fun art projects, post students' artwork into online portfolios AND earn money for your school.

1/26/12 - Building Elements  This was a fun little project I did with my students on the number of protons, electrons and neutrons an element has.  Oddly enough, I just posted about this same unit yesterday regarding a new project I did this year.  

2/1/12 - Website Wednesdays: Classroom Freebies Too Here I talk about a great website where you can find a ton of things for free to use in your classroom.  I'm no longer a contributor since I simply ended up not having the time due to the growing demands of my job and daughter at home but still love checking out this site to see what is posted. 

2/6/12 - Market Mondays: Gumball Machine - Without the Gum!  In this post, I talk about one of my classroom management tools that I use which is a huge hit with my class.  They love taking a turn at our "Puffball Machine" to see how much Kenzie Kash they can earn. 

2/7/12 - Grid Art Masterpiece Here you can read all about an annual art project that I do with every class.  This year we did the art work "Scream".  So much fun and I love seeing how it turns out. 

2/8/12 - Liebster Award My blog was recognized by a fellow blogger! Pretty awesome. :-)

2/9/12 - Website Wednesdays (errrr.....I mean Thursday) Mangahigh  Looking for a great site to practice Math skills with your kids. Check this post out. 

2/11/12 - Fonts, Fonts, and Even More Fonts - Part 1 If there is one thing I absolutely love more than colored markers, it's fonts!  Come check out some of my all time favorite free fonts.

Whoo - alright!  There are my first 12 of '12!  Check them out if you haven't already.  And be sure to go back and look at some of my other ones.  There are some hidden gems in there.  :-)  For even more great blog posts, head on over to Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies and check out what other bloggers have posted. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Periodic Table - Element Wanted Posters

In science class my students just finished learning the basics on atoms and the periodic table.  They are well apt at figuring out how many neutrons, protons, and electrons each element possesses.  Towards the end of our unit, one of my students brought in a book that he thought I might be interested in seeing called The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe.  And what a fabulous book it was!

The book itself gives information on each element in the periodic table and provides one of the most colorful experiences I've ever witnessed on the this topic.  I'll admit it was so intriging to look at all the pictures and to discover new things about the elements which I never knew. got me thinking.  If I was this interested in the topic by looking at the book, would my students be too?

After doing a bit of research online, I came across a great cumulative project for our unit in which each student would pick an element that interest them and create a "Wanted Poster" for that element. More importantly, I wanted them to be able to use our iPad to create their project as well.  After tweaking it a bit for my needs, I assigned the project. Click here to see  the assignment details. 

Sample Project from student

After each student chose an element they wanted to learn more about, I copied from the book, The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, for them to utilize in their research.  In addition, students used the app called PeriodicTable.  While it only has a 3 out of 5 star rating, the app for the most part provided more than enough information for my 5th graders for what they needed. 

After students finished doing the research on their project and had filled out their rough draft, they worked in the Pages app to complete their final poster.  I printed all their posters and students presented their work to the class. It was a lot of fun and very informative to learn about all the elements they picked. 


What projects have you done with your students that involved the Periodic Table and elements?  Share below - I'd love to hear about them.

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