Black Friday Madness Sale

Everything on Power Point Maniac’s Teaching Resources is 30% off until December 1st!  Use promo code “maniac” at check out! This is one of the bigger deals of the year.  For example the popular Thanksgiving History Power Point is only $2.45 with the discount! To get started check out some of my Christmas/Holiday files!!  Also if you haven’t downloaded the “I am Thankful” project for FREE do it now!


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Halloween Math

All Set for Halloween? Check out my site for some great Halloween printables including three FREE Addition worksheets WITH A KEY! Students will love the fun Halloween clipart. Head on over to Power Point Maniac’s Teaching Resources for more info! Thanks!


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Homework Paradigm Shift

It was a simple, respectful but gutsy, short note from a concerned parent last year.

 “It took (Name withheld) over an hour to do the 28 division problems tonight.  Would it be possible next time to check for understanding with only 8 -10 problems?”  


Concerned Parent

I sat and thought about it for about 15 minutes.  I had nearly every emotion running through my head but eventually I got to, “Oh my gosh. What was I thinking?  I gave 28 long division problems last night and that was just in math!” I had always given homework because I was given homework when I was in school. 4th graders should have 40 minutes of homework right? (10 minutes per grade level rule) Sometimes even when I didn’t have homework to give out I would make something up.  I found my self really asking, “Why am I assigning this?”  I use to make the kids write their spelling words 4X’s each and they hated it!  What’s the point? (Let’s not get started on spelling!)

Now this year my family has gotten the opportunity to be involved in the life of an amazing 4th grade student. Wow – talk about busy!  Soccer, homework, snack, clarinet practice, good news club, dinner, reading, and shower. Of course she would NEVER procrastinate at any of these! (I need a drink, oops my lead broke, I know I got this assignment last week, but now it’s due tomorrow!!) Students are busier than I ever was!  For me, this school year is different. I’m giving WAY less homework. Sometimes the homework I do give is “Read for 20 minutes” or “study your spelling words”  Homework that can be done in the car, or at sister or brother’s game.  It just makes sense.

 Here are a couple questions for you to consider.

Who actually does the homework and is it a good representation of what the student is capable of?

 What types of students/family life really have issues with homework?

What is the real purpose of the homework? Is it just busy work?

I think the parents appreciate a little less homework this year, and I KNOW the students appreciate it!

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iPod Touch Morning Routine

This is a continuation of a previous post about how I incorporate iPod Touch into my students learning:

Each morning the students get to use their iPods for some morning work. The kids LOVE doing this and they are quiet!  At the beginning of the year I give the students the option of doing any 3 of the apps.  After a month or two I have them do all the applications. Here is a great list of  the apps I use.  Most are free! 


Learn something different each day with the free BrainPOP Featured Movie App for the iPad, iPhone,and iPod Touch! After watching BrainPOP’s daily‐animated movie, you can test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz.

Superkids Vocab 4 – 6

A good vocab is essential to your childs future. Superkids Vocab 4‐6 provides a fun and easy way to master the words they need to excel in school and beyond.


This is the only source for truly live, local weather – providing users access to the largest network of professional weather stations in the US and thousands of locations around the world.


Today in History (lite)

Today In History is the easiest/best way to get the history information you want when you want it. We are dedicated to sharing world history, and personally significant “historical” information

Inspiring though of the day

Every day a new inspiring idea will appear on your screen, making you think about life and inspiring you to live it.


You can find all of these in the iTunes store.

I also use a worksheet to guide the students along the way.  Here is the worksheet:



Click this to download the worksheet for free!


This is also available with a poster, worksheet, and list of apps on

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Power Point in your classroom

Teachers and Educators use Power Point in hundreds of different ways.  Many educators use it simply as a visual aid and this is why Power Point was originally created.  Power Point took the place of other types of visual aids—hand-drawn or mechanically typeset slides, blackboards or whiteboards, or overhead projection. Some teachers use it simply as an interactive experience – with or without an interactive whiteboard.


I always try to include both features in my Power Points.  The beginning of most of Power Point Maniac’s Power points feature visual aids and clipart so the teacher can lecture and give the students information.  At the end of most Power Points is some sort of interactive activity. It may be something simple like a true/false quiz where the student comes to the board and touches the correct answer.  It could be a quiz where the students come to the board and circle the correct answer or picture. Here is a free example of what I am talking about! If you have never used Power Point interactively you should think about trying out some hyperlinks and quiz features.  What sort of ways do you like to use Power Point in your classroom? Let me know in the comments section!

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iPod Touch In Education

I have had the privilege of having a classroom set of Apple iPod Touch to use with my students this year. I’m going to be blogging about our experiences in the next several weeks but before I do, I thought I would cover how YOU could possibly get some for your classroom. Already you may be thinking, “Yeah right!”  So instead of a classroom set, lets start with trying to get one or two!   I have a couple ideas on how you could manage this.

1. Scholastic Bonus Points

For the first time this year I received some significant book orders and bonus points.  Significant enough that 3 weeks ago I ordered an Apple iPad 2 from the bonus points catalog!  Twice a year Scholastic offers 6,000 bonus points with a 200 dollar order. (Usually September and January) I stumbled across Laura Candler’s fool proof way to get a 200 dollar order and it worked! In my classroom, I actually get both Lucky and Arrow catalogs so this year I sent out  the Lucky catalog in the beginning of January and got some orders and put in about $40 to make sure it was $200. (6,000 bonus points) Then I sent out the JANUARY Arrow at the beginning of February. (usually there is a 3 month ordering window) I again had to order some with my own money to get it up to $200, but that brought me over the 19,999 bonus points for the iPad 2. It should be here soon!

2. Donors Choose website

Have you visited this awesome website yet? is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations. I have had several projects fully funded this year and the chorus teacher at my school had her project fully funded which happened to be two iPod Touchs. You can then buy the headphone jack adapter to hook up to 5 headphones into one iPod. (10 bucks at Kohls!) It is very easy to get started and they do most of the work for you.  After the project is funded you are expected to post some pictures and send out some thank you notes.  I know a teacher from North Carolina who has had over 15 projects funded!  Go for it!


I don’t know how things work in your district, but in my district the technology department does not just show up with expensive toys for the fun of it!  We have to ask.  If you don’t ask, how will they know?  This is how I managed to get my iPods.  We have a specific site on our school website where we make requests and ask for things.  I asked for threeyears in a row for a classroom set of iPods.  Before you ask however, do some homework.  Tell them HOW you will use them, explain how the students will be engaged, Tell them why they may improve test scores, talk about the standards, maybe even how you could collaborate with them. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Check out my iPod Touch morning routine worksheets on TeachersPayTeachers!

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Online Projects Anyone?

Are you interested in doing any online projects this school year? You should check out Jennifer Wagner, creator of, has been succesfully encouraging teachers since 1999 to use online projects in their PreK-6 classrooms.  Personally my class has really enjoyed several of her online projects.  A great one to start off with is her O.R.E.O. project.  You can also see the video of my students doing this project. The Egg roll project and the Pumpkin seed count are two other great projects.  Jennifer updates her site often and it is completely free to join. Check it out!


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Summer CD Sale



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75% Off Sale

We did it!  Thanks to so many of you who helped spread the word about Power Point Maniac’s Facebook Page, we reached 500 fans!  We are now holding a 75% off sale on ALL digital goods! (Sorry not on CD’s)  All you have to do is go to and pick out the resources you would like and then when it asks for a coupon/promo code during checkout you put in “facebook”  THAT’S IT!

The contest for sharing the page is still going on.  It’s very simple! All you have to do is either repost my facebook link to your facebook page, send the link in a private message (, or send out an email with the link encouraging teacher friends to check it out. Once you do this you have to let me know!  You can write a comment on facebook, make a comment on this blog with

your email, or send me an email ( stating that you shared the facebook page. As a way of saying “Thanks” I will send you my two newest resources, a “Pirate Themed, Using Commas” Power Point, and a “Heat and Heat Energy” Science Power Point (If you don’t teach Science I could be convinced to send you something else!)  Thanks so much!


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