Monday, June 24, 2013

Want to Get Those Graphics or Pictures Organized? You Need PIXA!

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Techie Tuesday Link Up!

My "Inner Nerd" has been released, so beware!  Mac Users here you go!

Pixa has made my life so much easier in getting my graphics organized and finding what I need quick.  If you are on a Mac and you have hundreds (or thousands, no confession from me) of graphics to keep up with, then you NEED Pixa.  If you are not a Mac user here it is: "Boo and Hiss from windows users".  See I do support you!  

Here is a quick video to pique your interest if you are not 100% sold on Pixa and you don't want to spend the money to find out if you like something or not right?  Of course you don't and I had to be sold too before I could be persuaded to spend the money for Pixa.

Pixa is a file management app for the Mac designed to help those working with graphic files such as jpg, png, gif, eps and more.  The developer of Pixa says Pixa is an image organizer, but really it is much more.  Not only will Pixa organize your images/graphics, but it will also read your design files from Photoshop and Illustrator.  

One of the fantastic features of Pixa is the "Live Folders" feature.  Live Folders reference folders that are already on your computer. Pixa reads the changes to that folder in real-time when the changes happen.  Live Folders make it possible for an image to be tagged, searched and organized without changing the original files on your computer. Before purchasing Pixa I already had my folders divided into Graphics, Lettering, Digital Papers and Frames.  Now those are in Pixa and I can go to the top right hand search window and look for all items that are "chalk" and I get all graphics that are chalk related. (see below)


Another feature about Pixa that I love is the way it auto-tags.  Pixa will automatically tag images by size and major color.  I always add my own tags so that it makes creating that much easier.  Pixa is a fantastic app for file organization and I recommend it to everyone who is into designing.  The Pixa developer, Shiny Frog has a 10 day demo available on their website and it is for  Mac OS X 10.7.3+ users.  The first time you use Pixa and load your files, it will take a while and you will want to do that close to bedtime so you can let Pixa do the job.  Once you add folders to Pixa you will see a pulsing icon next to the folders  which means it is working and they disappear when Pixa has finished.  

If you have any questions about Pixa during the trial or if you already own Pixa there is a FAQ for Pixa where you can have your questions answered.  Pixa is available in the Mac App Store for $30.00.  That means you can install Pixa on both your desktop and your laptop.  You can also get some helpful hints on the Pixa Tips blog.  I am not an expert on Pixa but I am certainly sold on using it for creating my products.  If you use the ten day trial please come back and let me know what you think!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BYE BYE Google Reader! HELLO Bloglovin!

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Hey Everyone!  Hope you had a great!  I used Google Reader as my reader so I had to move on over to Bloglovin!  I recommend switching to Bloglovin’.
I have no clue why Google Reader went Bye Bye but I have made the transition to Bloglovin’ to read up on the blogs I follow.  It was actually super simple and literally took all of 3 minutes.
You just create a Bloglovin’ account and in the process it asks if you want to import the blogs you read on Google Reader to your new Bloglovin’ account.  Click the button to import and that’s it!  Once they were all imported I did do a bit of house cleaning and organized all of my blogs by grade level and it was so easy to do.  
I read that on July 1st Google Reader is NO MORE and that the widget is probably as good as gone too.  So ALL of those followers that you have worked so hard to acquire will be gone ?  So if you were following blogs that you really love via Google Reader you need to switch to something else before July 1st.  Oh, there is also an app for Bloglovin in the app store so go grab it from iTunes.    
Just wanted to make sure that everyone knows that Google Readers is NO MORE so that you can change the way you follow your favorite blogs! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Organization IS the Key!

I don't know about you but I think there is A LOT of information out there on "How To Organize Your Classroom".  If everyone that reads this post shares a helpful hint that they use it would probably create a "best seller".  I am going to briefly touch on four different areas of organization and hopefully we will all learn from each other. Here are the four areas that I thought would be beneficial:

1. DESK-What is with my desk and where did all these papers come from?
2. SUPPLIES-Where am I going to put all of these supplies anyway?
3. TECHNOLOGY-I love technology but why does it come with so many cords?
4. CLASSROOM-Do these kiddos really need this much construction paper? 

I would bet that you can relate to almost every single question on the list so lets get busy......  

1. DESK-What is with my desk and where did all these papers come from?

We I am always seeking the answer to this one so where is Yoda when you need him most? (oh my gosh, she is a nerd) One thing that I am doing this year is an organizational binder that contains all the information that my brain does not want to carry around.  There are many binders out there but we all want one that meets our own needs right?  Where do I put this binder so that I can grab it easily and find it on my desk?  I have this wonderful desktop organizer that I use from Really Good Stuff that looks like this.  

Click the pictures to view the product

2. SUPPLIES-Where am I going to put all of these supplies anyway?

This year my class is not having "community" property and all my kiddos have to keep up with their own supplies in a shoebox that will fit nice and neat in their desk. (Yeah right, in a perfect world)  The overflow materials are going to go into one of two of these fantastic three drawer containers with labels laminated and glued to the inside of the drawer.  (OK, so not only is she a nerd, she is delusional). 
 Maria Manore's Decorated Organizer!

Another thing that I did was decorate one of those tool and gadget organizers from Amazon.  Here is a picture of it after I finished decorating it.  I was so organized all year and the kids knew where to find things as well so it made my life so much easier!

3. TECHNOLOGY-I love technology but why does it come with so many cords?

Unfortunately technology does come with a lot of cords and they always seem to end up in places where they can't be seen or reached. Another issue is how many times a day do you have to log in for someone because the letters on the keyboard just don't seem to help? Here is an easy and simple solution to both problems:
 Click the images above to visit the post

Before you click on the second picture I must warn you that you are about to be sucked into a black hole of oooooohs and ahhhhhhhs and "how can this lady be a first grade teacher and do all of this anyway?"    

4. CLASSROOM-Do these kiddos really need this much construction paper? Really?

Yes, they really do need that much construction paper but I have the best solution to this E V E R!  The picture below is just pure genius and if you click on it you will travel once again to the (un)known kingdom of organization.....Am I keeping all of you busy or what?

OK, we are just about there and just when you thought it was safe I found two other tidbits I thought I would share.  When you do math/ela journals this year (the composition notebooks) have someone cut them in half and they go further. (Check with Lowe's or Home Depot)  When you go to decorate your bulletin board and it is hanging behind the computers (like mine is-Ugh!) grab some tablecloths or material at your local Wal-mart. You could also just grab a gallon of paint and paint your bulletin board and never have to cover it again.  If you grab material please make sure the pattern is going in the right direction?  (not only is she a nerd and delusional but she has no forethought).


One thing that I have trouble with is keeping my books organized and it drives me crazy.  I found this easy to do idea on Pinterest and am going to try to do it this year.  If you have already tried it let me know how it worked for you?

I hope that as we close our time together that I have inspired you to share something with us that you discovered to work in your classroom.  If you want to share something that you have tried please share below in the comments area for everyone else to read.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: Morning "Must-Haves"!

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I am so excited to be linking up with Halle over at Across the Hall in 2nd Blog.  What a great and fun idea for everyone to learn about our "Favorite Things"!

In the morning when school is in I am all about "quick and easy" for breakfast. I grab my strawberry and banana yoplait yogurt and my mini blueberry muffin and I am set to go!  
On the way to school each morning I am always listening to 104.7 The Fish on my car stereo.  It starts my day off just right!
One of my favorite things to get my kids to read with me is to pull out the finger lights and they go crazy.  They want to be the first ones to read with me because they love these little finger lights.  I got them at Oriental Trading and bought two boxes. 
Two more things I absolutely must have are my iMac and my Orange Lavaburst Hi-C! 

Halle, Thanks so much for doing this great linky and I hope everyone is starting their summer off relaxing and safe!  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday "Made It" But I Had Help!

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I am joining with 4th Grade Frolics for the Kick Off of the Weekly "Monday Made It"!  I am a day late because I was so busy putting my new desk for my office together on Monday.  Yep, I bought one of those desks that you put together and boy was it a CHALLENGE!  I did have some help but in the end you have to have "team work" in your life at times!  It all went from "I am going to put a desk together" to "Now my whole room needs to be cleaned" event.  WHEW!  
Here is a picture of the stack we pulled out of the box and piled on the floor with me standing there going, "what do I do first?"  Seriously, have you ever read one of their manuals?  Okay, I did have help but he comes with four legs and he is the cutest little fur-baby E V E R!  My second son also helped because there were times when it took two to hold things while they were being put together.  

Here are the pieces to the desk all piled up and waiting for us. Of course you have to put an old blanket on the floor to keep everything from getting scratched.

Pile of never ending boards

T-Bone/desk assistant

So, after hours of standing and looking at three hundred cords under my old desk we finally realized this was going to take an entire day to do.  So, here is the desk put together with a few minor adjustments to doors and drawers.  I am enjoying it so much better then the old desk and it looks so professional.  Thanks for dropping by and reading about my desk dilemma and it really did turn out better then I thought it would.  Thank you Aaron and T-Bone for being such wonderful desk helpers.