Desktop Wallpaper Organizer

A few years ago, I spent way. too. much. time creating a desktop background for my school computer.  I Googled “How to create a desktop background” and learned about aspect ratio and then learned how to save it as a pdf so that I saw the whole picture and not just a small part of it (file > print > save as pdf and then I’d have to click Page Setup and make sure that Wallpaper was selected as the paper size).  I remember saving the pdf and making it my desktop background only to find that part of it got cut off on my screen.  Then I’d save it again to find out that the boxes I had for the different categories didn’t line up with where the folders would snap into the grid on the desktop.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I repeated that process.  It took FOREVER.

However in the end, I was happy with the outcome.

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Watercolor background found here.

As soon as I finished, I wished I had written down or wrote a post about the steps I took so I could remember it for the next time.  I had every intention of doing that this year.  Then I realized I could just pull up the one I had made, change the background picture, fonts, and color of the boxes and call it good!  Yep, that’s definitely what I did.

As I shared in this post, I’ve heard Annie F. Downs talk about Savor This on her podcast and also watched her Instastory where she talked about it.  After watching that, I knew that was my next background for my computer.

This is what I came up with.

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Flower background found here.

So while I don’t have a tutorial for you of how to create this, I can share the files I’ve made for these.  I don’t know if they’ll work on your screen or not, and I probably can’t tell you how to make one for yourself if it doesn’t work.  However, feel free to reach out if you’re trying to make one, and I can try to help!

Here are the files for both.

Savor This

A friend introduced me to Annie F. Downs this past year, and I *very* quickly turned into a fan.  Binge listen to her podcast? Check.  Follow her on all the places?  Check.  Buy her books?  Check.  Read her books?  Check.

She’s SO great!

As I’ve listened to her podcast (That Sounds Fun), I’ve heard her talk about “savor this”.  When I heard her talk about it on Instagram, I knew that I wanted needed this somewhere in my classroom this year to remind me of it throughout the year.  Below is what she said in her Instastory.

“I try to rush through every single thing I do, and I want to move on to the next thing and I don’t like living like that.  So for the last year and a half I’ve been saying to myself, thanks to Jenn, I want to savor everything.  I want to be right in the middle of where I am and really appreciate it, even if it’s heartbreak, even if it’s hard.  If it’s awesome, I want to be right in the middle of it.”

I heard that and immediately thought of me in my classroom.

How many times toward the end of a class period am I already thinking ahead to the next one?  How many times do I catch myself wishing it were the 3:30 (or the weekend, or Christmas break, or summer)?  How many times do I just want to get through *that class* because I know/think the rest of my day will be better after that? How many times do I wish I was done with the current concept so we could move on to one of my favorites?  How many times do I miss out on something amazing going on in my classroom because I’m too busy thinking ahead to the next thing? 

This happens a lot more often than I’m willing to admit.

So that is my goal for this upcoming school year not only in my classroom but also in life.

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I want to be right in the middle of whatever is going on.  Not planning the next thing or worrying about anything and everything.  I want to savor and enjoy and be present with whatever is going on.




Student Marbleslides 2018-2019

For the past couple years (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) I’ve had students create their own Marbleslides.  Every year it is one of my favorite things I do with my students.  Here’s a few reasons why.

  • I get to see my students explore math.  Whether my students have 2 lines on their slide or 20, they are exploring and learning math!  Sometimes it’s easy for me to get more excited about the crazy graphs, but I try to remind myself that the “simple” graphs can require just as much exploration and thinking.  It’s all awesome!
  • I get to see my students’ creativity!  Every year I’m amazed at how creative my students are as they work on this.  They are creative in where they have the marbles fall from, in the “extra” lines they add to a graph to make it look more visually appealing, and their overall ideas for their Marbleslide challenge.  They amaze me!
  • I get to see my students persevere.  Because the students are the ones to come up with the ideas for their Marbleslides, they are SO persistent and are bound and determined to get it to work out how they want it.  It’s unbelievably fun to watch!
  • I get to see them celebrate over MATH! Because they were so persistent in making their idea come to life, they get SO excited to see “Success!” on their screen!  It’s not uncommon at all to hear screams of excitement or to have multiple students impatiently call me over to see what they just did.  I absolutely love it!

Here is a link to their creations this year!

Note that my students made these on Chromebook, so sometimes some won’t “work” on different size screens.  All of the slides are copied and pasted from my students’ work, titles and all.  I love how you can see students exploring non-linear equations (y=xx).  They hadn’t learned those yet.  We had covered linear equations and that was all.  Any domain and range restrictions were learned from doing other Desmos Marbleslides activities.  In some cases I made notes of where the marbles are dropping from so that you know it might take a while for it to work because you know if middle schoolers are able to have marbles fall from crazy coordinates like (1,1000) they will! 🙂

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