Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ April 12, 2015

“You read and write and sing and experience, thinking that one day these things will build the character you admire to live as. You love and lose and bleed best you can, to the extreme, hoping that one day the world will read you like the poem you want to be.”
~~Charlotte Eriksson

On March 27th, one of our favorite Facebook pages, Humans of New York (HONY) posted a short piece about StoryCorps. The founder of HONY, Brandon Stanton is both the photographer and the author behind HONY, and it’s Brandon’s thought-provoking questions that encourage and enable people to share their very private and personal stories. The comments and the support of the viewers of this page add to its overwhelming popularity. Brandon is now encouraging people, especially teachers and family members, to use StoryCorps to record conversations and memories to add to this oral history project.

StoryCorps 2

Dave Isay is the founder of StoryCorps, and his TED Talk can be viewed here. Listening to his TED talk will educate you about the history behind StoryCorps and its importance.

What is StoryCorps? From their About Page:

“StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.”

StoryCorps 3

Please take the time to visit the StoryCorps website and consider downloading their app to help collect your stories. Start with their “Login Page” to create an account, and you can upload an audio file with an image from their website. We have found creating an account online helps facilitate the login process on the app.


StoryCorps 4

[Tweet “With the newly released StoryCorps app, it is now easier to share memories and personal stories.”]

As an added note, here is a little more about the “man behind HONY”:

audioBoom with a Big Boom

audioBoom with a Big Boom

iPad News tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 10-12-2014

Yes. That is not a “typo”.
If you have an “Audioboo” account, as of this past September,
they have a new name
and a new look.

No worries.
When you log in, you will find your “boo’s” still online and enough changes that you won’t be disappointed.
You still get ten free minutes of audio with each recording,
and you can share them with a QR code, image, and a shortened URL link that links to each of your audio files.

Check out the page specifically for “Educators”.
There you will find examples of audioBoom in the classroom with the message that you can give your students a “voice”.
In addition, you will find podcast resources and professional development tutorials.
When you visit the link for “widgets”, you will find embed codes for your audio posts with design choices to fit your website or blog.

Finally, there’s an app for that.Audioboom App
Download the app, allow access to your device microphone, and you will have the easiest way to create an audio file.
We hope you will experiment with this site and give your students a voice.
[Tweet “Audioboo has added an “m” to its name and a new look…”]


Spell Up

Spell Up

app iPad tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 10-5-2014

Last spring, Google released a new app and a Chrome web-based game that plays like a “personal spelling-bee”. Using voice recognition, it provides several ways that will help you build a tower of correctly spelled words. I played with this app on Friday night. (I know. No life.) It has a few hiccups in terms of recognizing my responses, but I really think our students will find it fun and won’t be put off by this at all. Make sure that you turn up the sound in your “Audio Mixer” specifically for this game.


It is also a Chrome app, available for download here.

It works well on iPads and other ISO devices when you access  the website in your Safari app.
The only difference is that you need to spell each word on a keyboard.


Give it a try, but don’t get “hooked”.
Your kiddos are sure to enjoy it, too!

[Tweet “Google releases “Spell Up”, your personal spelling bee in a game format.”]

Wuala = Voilà

Wuala = Voilà

classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-28-2013

“When it comes to organizing a work-space,
relaxation and comfort aren’t the primary goals.
Work is about efficiency and productivity. …
The more neat and logically organized your work-space is,
the better you will be at your job.”

— Peter Walsh

Shannon and I have used Dropbox to store and share online contents for years.
One of the things we love about it is how seamlessly it works on the iPad.

Dropbox, however, is blocked in some school districts.
If that is the case in your district,
you might consider another online storage site which is touted for its “bank-level” security.

On Wuala, (pronounced “Voilà”) your files are all encrypted, and nobody has access to your files or your password, not even their employees.

Like Dropbox, you receive 5GB of storage free, you can share your files, and you can synchronize your stored files between your computer and your online account.

Wuala app

For more information, visit their FAQ Page. 

Oh, and yes!
There’s an app for that.
And, of course, it is free!

Stay dry, have a restful Sunday, and a great week.
We are on the homestretch to warmer weather and the end to another school year!

YodelOh™ Math Mountain App

app iPad iPad2 tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 4-21-2013

The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated,
but to make complicated things simple.
  ~S. Gudder

Back in October of 2011, Shannon wrote a review about Spinlight Studio’s app, TableTots.

We have shared this app in iPad training sessions for elementary teachers,
and many have written notes confirming its versatility and usefulness.YodelOhMathMountain

This week we received a note from Spinlight Studio with this announcement:

“The sheep’s out of the bag! YodelOh™ Math Mountain hit the App Store today,
and we can’t wait to hear what you think about it!”

We love Spinlight Studio and their professional commitment to developing apps for educators.

  1. They are our neighbors located in Champaign, Illinois.
  2. Their apps do not contain “third party ads”.
  3. Their apps do not link to a social network.
  4. Their apps do not track your location
  5. Their apps do not link to web access.
  6. Their apps do not include “in-app purchases”.

For 99¢, you have an app that “blends arcade action with traditional classroom math drills”. The game is fast and is designed “to help elementary students memorize the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables essential for math.”
It is rated for ages 6-12.


Below is a link to Spinlight Studio’s guide for  YodelOh™ Math Mountain.

YodelOh™ Math Mountain and Spinlight Studio come with our highest recommendation. Read more on their “Press Release” page.

My only wish is that we had a few mountains around us so that, on this beautiful Sunday, we could hike a few ourselves. I will have to be content to take a walk through the woods surrounding Lake Shelbyville…

Have a great week!

My Fitness Pal

app iPad tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 7-29-2012

It seemed right to feature this tip this week.
It’s the week of the Olympics!

My kids have always been involved in athletics.
As my youngest joined her older siblings,
Shannon fell in step right behind them.
She tried many.
Volleyball, basketball, softball, track, and finally,

(Did I miss any, Shannon?)

Cross-country seemed to be her “best-fit”, and was the foundation for her adult life as she began thinking more about fitness and nutrition,
and less about weight.

Together, Shannon and I have discovered that the best “diet” is exercise.

Add to that equation good, healthy food, and we work hard to stay healthy.
(Well, Shannon works a LOT harder.
She is a “Rock Star” of cooking and eating healthy.)

Over time, though, we sometimes lose ground.
The weather might keep us inside, limiting our exercise options.
Deadlines and commitments require that we sit at computers and devices working long hours.

Before you know it,
the numbers on our bathroom scales begin to creep up,
and we just don’t feel good.

This spring Shannon took some active steps to reclaim her health and fitness,
and one important piece of that process is an app that is supported by a website.

My  Fitness Pal is a website and an app available on the iPad, Android devices, and even the Blackberry and Windows smartphones.

It is very easy to use, and FREE.

You need to register for an account, enter your personal data to establish goals and expectations, and you are on your way.

The more you use it, the easier it is to log what you eat and your exercise.
The food database contains over a million food items that can be searched and entered.
Once you enter a food item,
it is easy to retrieve and record the data attached to it.

It is literally a “click” to check a box.

Support is also there when you suggest and “friend” others using this app. When I saw how well Shannon was doing and when she explained how it works, I logged on and made an account, along with several family members.

Why is this our “Tech Tip of the Week”?

It has also become my personal “teaching tool”.

I have learned so much about nutrition and what I can and should eat.
For example, I can pile fresh strawberries and blueberries onto my cereal in the morning for 80 calories while eating 7 (SEVEN) Tostitos is 140 calories! 140!!

For only SEVEN!?

And a fruit-filled breakfast is a lot prettier than some pasty-white chips made out of white corn.
Just sayin’.

Each time I take a walk or lift a few weights,
it’s like “buying” calories.

Tomorrow is Monday,
so whether or not you need to lose or gain some pounds,
Shannon and I encourage you to head over to My  Fitness Pal
and start the week working toward a healthier you.

Maybe it’s time to find your greatness…


classroom management tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 6-10-2012

As I tweak and change the iPad presentations, I’m also thinking about the teachers we’ll be training this week in Palatine, Illinois.

We will be working in a school district where twenty different languages are spoken within the large ESL student population.

Going through the list of apps that we will be introducing to them, I found an app that wasn’t on my device, and one that was new to me.

SayHi will be their “go-to” translator app.

$.99 cents later, and I had an app that I love, love, love!

I wasn’t sure how accurate it was, since it defaults to Spanish, so I changed the settings to German, which is my mother’s language and the language I heard and spoke often when I was young.

Every single phrase I spoke was translated “dead on”!

Then I took the same German phrase and spoke into the device for translation back into English and it scored 100% again.

I wish I knew about this app two months ago when our new student from Mexico enrolled into our school unable to speak any English at all!

Visit their website, and download this app now!
Don’t wait until you need it!

Some of the features are:

  • 33 languages and dialects.
  • Copy to insert into other writing apps.
  • Choose female/male voice.
  • Slow down the playback for clarification.
  • “Favorite” different phrases you might find yourself needing often.
  • The ability to edit your translations with a keyboard.

If you aren’t convinced by all of the features and the low price of $.99,
then surely this Customer Review will “seal-the-deal”:

“I just got married to a Mexican and trying to have conversations was really hard. This app helps tremendously! If you need to learn or have something translate for you. This app is awesome!”

How can you not <3 an app that supports wedded bliss…?!

“Stitch It”

Holiday iPad2 Photography tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 11-27-2011

It’s time to share all of the hard work and creativity you put into that decorating!

We’ve found a fun and free way to do that.

Hurry over to “Photosynth” and download this app to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or your iPad2.

I downloaded it as soon as I bought my iPad2, and drove to our cabin to take a spring panorama shot of our lake. I could not believe how EASY it was!

Before this app, I used Photoshop to stitch together my photos, and was amazed at how much easier Photosynth was! It even takes the pictures for you! The more images you stitch together in your panorama, the better your final image is. It not only captures the scene in 360˚ view, but up and down, as well.

(Photoshop:  Now THAT is a program that should generate a two-year degree. I need to add that to my “bucket list” of goals to achieve. What a powerful, but oh-so-overwhelming list of options for one program! However, I can remove stains, wrinkles, “face-shine” and “red-eye” in my photos like nobody’s business.)

If you find Photosynth is “just right” for you,
we would love to see you share your shots on Facebook with us!

It’s time to “show-off”!

Don’t hold back!

We would love to see your classroom, your home, your porch, or whatever you wish to share!

Just send us your link or email your panorama images and we’ll post them in our gallery.