Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Open the Battery Compartment on the Leapster GS Explorer

My daughter received a Leapster GS Explorer for Christmas. It's terrific! The stories are actually teaching her how to read. She can tap the words to have them read to her if she has trouble sounding them out. The stories and the gameplay are challenging enough to be educational but rewarding enough to overcome frustration - that pedagogical sweet spot known as the zone of proximal development.

The only beef I can make about the Leapster GS is the darn thing is hard to open. The instructions don't adequately explain what to do to open the battery compartment. The steps are correct, but they don't tell you how hard you need to press in order to get it to open. Hint: you have to press pretty hard!

The instructions that come with the Leapster say you can do it by pushing on the arrows with your thumbs and sliding the cover in the direction of the arrows. No such luck! No amount of pressure that I could muster would do the trick. Trying to pry it off didn't work either. Eventually, what worked, was to use something tougher than my thumbs to apply the pressure in the spot indicated. I used the butt of a pocket knife. Anything similar would do the trick -  you could use the handle of a small screwdriver, for example. Work open just one side at a time, like in the photo. Also, put the Leapster on something soft so the pressure you apply doesn't damage it.

Update: A few weeks later, when it was time for new batteries, I didn't have a pocket knife handy. I used the eraser end of a pencil and it worked perfectly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Art and Literacy Combine for Pre-K Fun

My daughter brought these little crafts home from preschool today. I was impressed (and yes, I'm biased). They now occupy a place of honor on the fridge. What really impressed about this activity is the way it forces the kids to slow down and think about the shape of the letter. Way to go Maestra Alba!

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to print MANY pages of a PDF file on one sheet of paper.

As teachers, we often need to push our printers to the max to get the most bang for our buck. Inkjet printer ink is expensive, and paper can be hard to come by, too. Here is a trick that will let you print as up to sixteen pages per sheet of paper - useful for things like printing notes or making word wall cards come out just the right size for our bulletin boards.

Adobe Reader makes it easy to print more than one page per sheet. Open the PDF file you want to print. Then go to File > Print or click the Print button. In the dialog that appears, look for these options.

Click on the "Multiple" button. Then you can experiment endlessly with the custom settings to get the results you want.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Common Core Standards Posters Customized for Your State

Over the summer I finished making Common Core Standard posters for K-8. The posters cover the national standards for ELA and Math. Many states have added their own standards to the national ones. My own state, California, is one of them. So, starting with sunny California, I will be making posters to cover additional state standards. If you would like posters for the standards added by your state, leave a comment below or email me and I'll send them to you when they're finished.

I'm also going to create more options for subject headers. A lot of administrators want us to post specific headings like Reading, Writing, Language, etc, as opposed to just "English Language Arts."


Sunday, September 16, 2012

CCS Posters Jungle Theme is Finished!

What the teacher wants, the teacher gets. I'm happy to say that the jungle theme that was requested by several teachers over the summer is now complete! You can download it for free from my TPT store. It has title sheets and headers for grades kindergarten through sixth. If you want this theme for seventh grade, eighth grade, or above, just leave a comment below and I'll whip it up.

The clip art I used is from babystardesign and clipartland