Saturday, March 30, 2013

Adding a Watermark or "Brand" to Your Pictures and Thumbnails

You've probably seen the blog where most (or all) of the pictures have a little symbol in the picture that aligns with the blog. This is done to protect the blog/picture and to direct people back to the blog and/or business.

I've seen lots of tutorials on how to do it in Photoshop (I use GIMP ... it's free, holler!), but there is also a quick and easy way to do it in PowerPoint (it's a lot like the way you'd make a blog button - the tutorial I used for mine is here at the amazing Teacher Wife's blog!). PowerPoint isn't as powerful as Photoshop or GIMP, but for people who are used to working with it, using PP can be faster and easier to use.

First, make sure your PowerPoint slide is blank (no text boxes). {P.S. ... I'm working on a Mac with PowerPoint 2008 ... could definitely use an upgrade, but it still works, holler!} 

 Insert your picture {I'm working on a blog post about my energy projects}.

Then insert the picture file you want - I use the same image that I use as my blog button. 

Put the button where you want it and re-size to your liking. You can make it more or less transparent (to make it more or less obvious) by selecting the image and adjusting the transparency from the toolbar like this: 

Or by selecting the image, right-clicking and choosing "format picture" ... 

... then adjusting the transparency from that menu. 

Make the whole thing an image file by clicking FIRST on the picture, hitting SHIFT (to select more than one item), and then clicking the watermark image. If you don't click the picture first THEN the watermark, you'll have the picture on top of the watermark. {Weird, but true.}

 While still holding down SHIFT, right click and choose "Save as Picture."

You can choose many different file type - PNG formats still hold any transparency you might have added to the background. JPEGs work too though.

Now, if you want to add the watermark to your TpT preview thumbnails, follow the same steps, but choose images of your products. To do this, take a screen cap of your file's cover and/or any other pages you want to go in the thumbnails. On a Mac, to take a screengrab you just click SHIFT + COMMAND+4 and drag the image you want grabbed. {The product I chose was my "new math" tutorial.}

 Then, open your blank PP (or simply a new page on the existing presentation) -

 ... and follow the steps above to add a watermark, saving your file with a name you'll know is a thumbnail ... {perhaps TitleofProduct_Thumbnail}.

Once you've saved it, the best thing to do is lower the quality so the file size is small enough for a thumbnail. I do this in Preview. I open the file in Preview, then go to "save as." There, I'm given a choice of the file type -

I choose "JPEG," so I can change the quality.

Then I slide the bar until it's around 50 - 100 KB.

From the upload a new product screen, choose "Upload My Own Images."

Choose the files you created with your watermark, and BOOM! Images you can "pin" from TpT with your watermark on them. They'll not only lead back to your store, but also carry your "brand" across the Inter-webs. :)

Hope this helps!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Peace Window

How do you help your kids learn to manage their own conflict? I've heard of several options - the tattle jar, comment bucket, read-alouds, etc. I like those, but I've found that they sometimes enhance the problem, if that makes sense - they allow the child to "tattle" and expect that the adult will handle it without having to think through the situation on their own.

We use something called a peace window - based on the Montessori idea of a peace table.  Ours has a different name because I ran out of room to put an actual peace table ... so I grabbed some window markers and off we went!

The concept is simple; there are only a few rules:

  • You have to go to the peace window if you're invited, but you can't invite someone in the middle of a lesson - only during group or individual work time (or play time). 
  • The person who did the inviting starts, and you can't interrupt. 
  • You  start by saying, "When you ______, I felt _______." 
  • The other person can explain their side.
  • Then you have to use the sentence started, "I'd like ______," and tell the other person what will resolve the situation from your perspective. The other person is free to accept or try to compromise. 

It has made a HUGE difference in my kids. It took a lot of modeling and practicing our conversations, but now they leave me out of most situations, and I only get called in if a compromise isn't able to be reached, or if things are getting heated. I'd say 90% of the class uses it judiciously and 10% still needs me there for most conversations. That's a big improvement over the beginning of the year when I heard, "Ms. BBZ, he/she _____" ... all. day. long! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Works for Boys {and more beautiful books} ...

The media specialist at our school is *amazing.* She works with the best people to get great books into our kids' hands. I'm always on the lookout for books that my boys will like - and I *know* there are some in this mix. I'm seriously excited to show them some of these titles. {There's only so far Ninjago and NFL Superstars will go ...}

One of my favorite, favorite books ... 
Is a graphic novel!

At one point, I might have been skeptical about graphic novels for kids, but after seeing how much they help my struggling readers and grab the attention of ALL my readers - no more. Anything that makes kids find the JOY in reading and truly find their "reading identity" ... bring it on.

Another one I *know* my boys will like - what a great premise - carrots that come ALIVE!! 

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but this is a larger-than usual version of James ... IN COLOR. 

I want to reach out and stroke the pages!! 
Boo, I couldn't find that one at Amazon in the same version.

Oh my ... Puss in Boots - with the movie version out, I think I could entice my boys into reading this one! 
The next one isn't just for my boys, though they read them. I'm just happy to find a new series with an African-American female lead character. I love the Julian series, but these are fun, spunky and new - and they're chapter books, holler!

Finally - who knew - one of my favorite picture books in a more grown-up format. Fun. :) 

Looking through some of the new titles, I am blown away by the beauty of the books our kids are reading. Were books this beautiful when we were kids? I mean, I'm a READER (with a capital R, and E, and A ...) but I want these books, not only to read them, but for eye candy. {Sigh} And if I love them, I know they'll grab the attention of ALL my readers.

What books do YOUR readers love? 

Teacher Clothes: Dress and Scarf

I actually wore this dress with opaque tights - it was FREEZING this week. Spring ... where are you?

As I break out my spring scarves {hoping to entice Spring to come on over} ... I thought this outfit might be a good one to show some scarf options - I'm sure you've seen the million and one different scarf ties floating around Pinterest. {This won't be as great as that, ha!} 

Wrapped around once ... 

Classic half-fold ... 

Knotted at the bottom 

Left hanging! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Teacher Clothes: Kristy at Two Peas and a Dog

Woo hoo! Another teacher to feature in my little "teacher clothes" posting series. Last time I featured my sweet friend Lilla and her ADORABLE cardigan from Target. {Does everyone say Tar-jay in their head? I do!}

This time the wonderful Kristy from Two Peas and a Dog sent me a picture of her adorable patterned top and cardigan {teachers love a good cardigan!}. She lives all the way in Canada, so I *know* they're not getting any spring weather yet, but she's just like me - wishing for spring and putting a little pink and orange out there for Mother Nature to pick up on. Thanks Kristy!

As always - thanks to the 3AM Teacher for the frame and Fonts for Peas for the fonts! 

Energy Kickoff!

We started our energy, forces and motion unit about a week ago, and kicked it off with a special visitor - my friend Ms. HB , who's a HOOPER {on the side}. Have you ever "hooped" with an adult hoop or seen someone do it artistically? It is SO SO SO fun. 

Soooo, Ms. HB kindly took a morning off from her real job and brought us HOOPS! She's super gifted with the hoop, but even those of use who aren't quite as coordinated enjoyed it ... :) {Oh look ... there's my outfit from that day!}

We talked about potential and kinetic energy (the hoop doesn't have any potential energy when it's on the ground, but when you pick it up, that movement gives it energy that is stored to turn into kinetic energy!). We tied in pushes and pulls (moving forward with your body to make the hoop go). We talked about the three types of energy that our state wants kids to know about at this age (light, heat and motion). {Although I'll probably introduce chemical, gravitational, and nuclear} We even tied in Netwon's three laws of motion - by talking about inertia that makes the hoop keep moving and gravity that pulls it down, and how we have to push hard to make the hoop move faster! 

As I first started looking at these standards when I came back to Georgia to teach, I was a *little* confused about why we focus on light, heat and motion ... but in all my preparation I found there are MANY more kinds of energy - sources, types ...  where do kinetic and potential energies fit in? I also had a rough time finding resources that explained energy types in kid-friendly language.  I found this book, and of COURSE the BrainPop videos (that are awesome), but not a lot of other resources that weren't too hard or too easy. 

So, I made these little posters to help my kids {and me!} sort out types of energy in kid-friendly language. If you think they'd help you, they're available from my TpT store, and will be part of my upcoming energy unit {hoping to get that posted this weekend}!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Aliens Have Invaded! Area and Perimeter

Even though we finished up our space unit a few weeks ago, we still needed a biittt longer to banish the aliens finish up our alien area and perimeter unit. Area and perimeter of rectangles/squares is something that was pretty easy for the kids to understand, but it opens up a WHOLE new world for them and for our classroom discussions. 

Throughout this exploration we were connecting our knowledge of multiplication, repeated addition, the commutative property, 2-D shapes, fractions of shapes, adding fractions, adding number strings and subtracting to find the difference. The kids' math vocabulary was flying through the room! I love these moments when all their learning just "clicks." 

Love seeing some addition strategies being used! 

We started off by learning that {ahh! the horror!} we'd been invaded by some very picky moon men.  We'd been studying the moon for quite some time, so it wasn't a big stretch. :) First, we had to design a spaceship so they could get back to the moon as fast as possible. 

Using the partial boxes led to a fun discussion about halves and adding fractions. 

It was going to take quite some time for the aliens' ship to be built, so we had to pick out a fenced in area for them. To do this we had to figure out the amount of space they'd want (moon men like to be close to each other, so we had to pick the smallest area we could). 


We then discussed some perimeter options, including both perimeter of rectangles and non-standard shapes. I was blown away by how quickly they caught on! 

At first I'd mentioned to the class that perimeter can be tricky, because it may seem like we're counting the corner tiles "twice", because we count two sides of the corner tiles. They quickly came up with this solution - measure using the outside! 

We ended with a culminating CHALLENGE problem - to design an area with the maximum amount of perimeter (so the aliens could hang their art) and the smallest amount of area. Their ideas were AWESOME!

One student quickly saw the best way to maximize the difference between his perimeter and area was to figure out how to have as many boxes as possible alone, without touching any of the other boxes. He didn't quite come up with the idea of a diagonal line, but he was close! 


This was a fun and pretty low-prep unit for me. Thanks, aliens. ;)  Up next: geometry (shew!). 

If you're interested in buying this unit - stop by my TpT store! 

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