Sharing More with Video Slides on the Go

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Do you ever have a large number of photos that you really want to share all at once? You know, from a kid’s play, trip to Walt Disney World, or just capturing special moments with your family. Sure, you could toss them all onto Instagram or your Facebook page for everyone to see one at a time. Doing this would take a lot of time, annoy some people, and be kind of boring. Video slides are a fun and different way to share a lot of items in a shorter amount of time.

Creating Video Slides on the Go

A lot of my friends use Flipagram and I have tried it. The reason I did not like that app is simple. I don’t want the name of the app watermarked on my slide show. I went searching and found something that I had used in the past that had a lot of new and interesting features. PhotoGrid has grown up and changed a lot since I had used it. You can now make collages (grid), scrapbook style images, edit photos, create video slides, tell stories with the filmstrip option, and more.

PhotoGrid App Options

While I still want to try more of the new options, I have been enjoying the ease of using the PhotoGrid app for Video Slides. When you select Video Slides, you will automatically be taken to the camera photos on your smartphone. You may select up to 50 items from that folder and others on your device using the drop down in the top left corner. Once you have selected the photos that you want to include, click the Next button in the lower right corner. You will be able to shuffle photos that were selected into the order you prefer. In addition to this, if you tap on an individual image you will be able to edit or delete them. The editing will allow you to crop, use filters, retouch, add background/text/stickers/borders, and draw on the images. This means that you may not need to use multiple apps to finish one project thanks to PhotoGrid.

Creating video slides in PhotoGrid app

When finished arranging and editing slide photos, click on the Preview button at the top right. From this area, you will be able to edit the video itself. You can add music, adjust the legth of the video, change the way the slides transition, put a background or border in, and have your signature at the end of your creation. You can spend as much or little time as you want to make it just the way you want. I love that even leaving it the way it comes, the piece looks nice and perfect for sharing on Instagram and other places.

Editing VideoSlide on PhotoGrid App

When you are satisfied with the way the video preview looks, you may save the completed Video Slide to your phone and/or share it with the push of a button. Here is an example of one that I made from our visit to Puzzles Bakery & Café and the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region. As you may have guessed, I am getting ready to spread and share information for autism awareness and acceptance.

Working on two posts at one time. Love that my phone helps me. #VZWBuzz

A video posted by @theangelforever on

How would you use an app like PhotoGrid in your life? I would love to know what you could use a Photo Slide for right now or in the near future. Please share any creations that you make so I can check them out!

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Testing Season is Here in New York State

Waving hello from here to there. My blog often takes a back seat this time of year. You see, this is when my educational advocacy mode seems to kick into high gear. After going to a wonderful Reclaiming Public Education forum on March 12, I decided to do something I had been thinking about for a while. I bought a domain name to start a Capital District website about educational advocacy. Within a short time, OptOutAlbany.com was born!

OptOutAlbany is born

It took some time for TechyDad to get the backend parts of the website ready. Then, it was ready to roll and get the first post up. Community members from around the eleven counties making up the Capital District will be working together to make this a reality. This is not simply about refusing the NYS 3-8 testing, it is about so much more.

Refuse the NYS Tests

To learn more about our mission, please head over to see our welcome post about Reclaiming Public Education in the Capital District.

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Reclaiming Public Education in New York

Public School Parent Advocacy

Testing season has already arrived in many parts of the United States. Whether you are talking about the PARCC exams in a variety of locations or FSA in Florida, parents, teachers, and students are getting upset and are more vocal about what is happening in their schools. The reality of high-stakes testing in public schools is frightening, especially when you connect the dots and follow the money. The testing is not about helping students, it is about privatizing our public schools, getting rid of teachers, and making companies rich. This video about PARCC has been an eye-opener for many.

The Other PARCC – Parents Advocating Refusal on High-Stakes Testing from nLightn Media on Vimeo.

In New York State the grade 3-8 exams do not begin until April. Thanks to this there are a lot of events throughout the state letting parents know about choices that exist and how they can help us to reclaim our schools. The first Capital Region event will take place on Thursday, March 12 in Delmar, NY. The speakers will be from New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE). Bianca Tannis and Jessica McNair will share a wealth of information with those that join them at 6:30.

Reclaiming Public Education event in Delmar

On Monday, March 16 there will be another event at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. Speakers for this event include Gail Richmond, Michael Lambert, and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.

Reclaiming Public Education event in Clifton Park

Additional events in other regions are listed on the NYSAPE website. I urge you to take time and join others at one of these events to learn more about what has been happening to schools in recent years. Now is the time to stand up and save our public schools. Our children are more than a score. No politicians will be using my child as a guinea pig and pawn in a game against the teachers. I am done with people that are not educators coming into our schools to make changes that make no sense and only hurt the kids. Charter schools are not the answer and they are only making more of a mess in New York State. Connect the dots and understand that schools are not failing our kids. The reality is that poverty and other factors that are out of the control of schools are being ignored by individuals like Governor Cuomo.

I support teachers and public schools

I am a teacher, I am a parent, and I am a public school advocate that will continue to fight for my children and others to have the education that I was blessed to have while attending public schools.

It's Me

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Tuesday Tales: Technology to Assist Young Readers

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Reading for pleasure and reading at school can be two very different beasts. As a certified reading teacher, I adore watching young children begin to decode words and tackle their first books. Seeing their faces light up at this accomplishment is amazing. As kids continue to grow academically, they hit other literacy benchmarks within elementary school. This summer, my youngest son started to read chapter books without me. Now you never find him without his nose in a book when we are on the go.

Using Audiobooks with Middle School Students

If you think that this is where it stops, you are not correct. When kids enter middle school, the world changes for them as they begin to dive further into literature. Now it is not simply about reading a story and summarizing it. They begin to analyze more and more about the characters, plots, and connections to real world people, places, and things.

When I was teaching sixth grade Language Arts, I decided to try something different with my class while reading Ella Enchanted. I brought the audio discs of the book to allow my classes to listen and read along. What I witnessed was eye opening. Students that may have struggled reading independently were doing fantastic. They were able to actively engage more in class discussions, they absorbed more of the fine details of the story, and they appeared to really enjoy the experience as a whole.

Fast Forward to my oldest son starting middle school this fall. It was something we were quite worried about since he is autistic, but it seemed to be just what he needed. When he read his first novel, I listened to the audiobook on my smartphone. I knew that the change in Language Arts would be big and I may need to step in and assist him with abstract concepts. The audiobook was a great for me to multitask. Thanks to listening to the book, I was able to discuss topics with him. When he had homework, I was able to listen to his ideas to make sure he understood what the question was really asking. Often times, autistic individuals are very literal and this can make learning to analyze literature more of a challenge.

When NHL started his second novel at the beginning of third marking period, I wanted to try another approach. I thought back to when I was teaching in my own classroom and what I experienced with my students. I immediately went to my OverDrive media app, signed into my local library and looked for the MP3 Audiobook I needed. Once I found it and saw that it was available, I checked the book out and it downloaded onto my smartphone.

OverDrive media player to help with school reading

When NHL came home with his first reading assignment, I was ready. We sat down together in a quiet location. I used my BOSE SoundLink Mini speakers so we could both listen clearly together. I handed NHL his copy of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and clicked on the app to listen to the first chapter. So far this approach seems to be helping my son. He is a lot more confident about the experience and is able to delve more into the abstract content within the homework questions. It is still a challenge at times because he is very literal, but I see a major difference over the previous novel he read.

Audiobook and paper book reading together

Will this help your child? Every reader is different, so consider your child’s learning style and try different approaches to see what works best for them. Some may do well with simply the paper book, while others may enjoy a digital read using the Kindle app. Other kids are better auditory learners and audiobooks are an invaluable asset that may be all they need. Then some children, like my son, respond with two styles combined. Yes, reading along in a paper book while listening to a narrator is not simply for new readers. Using two senses helps my son to focus more on the words and what they mean. The benefits are something that have been studied and I will share more about that in another post

While I have written about OverDrive media app in the past, I think it is a wonderful resource that students, parents, and teachers may want to utilize more. It is an app that can be put onto a smartphone or tablet and utilized with students of varying ability levels to increase their confidence within class.

Has your child ever used an audiobook for school reading? I would love to know about their experience. As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Be sure to link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Winter and Elsa Be Gone

When you live in the northeast, you know that Mother Nature can dish out many different scenarios in the winter. As someone that has lived in New York State for her entire life, I have to say this winter has been brutal. Elsa needs to back off and STOP!

Let it go, stop the snow

It is not simply cold, it is freezing in a dangerous way. Snow may not be to the levels people are seeing in New England (poor Boston and areas of Maine), but traveling around here is getting tricky. Roads have snow mounds all over which makes it hard to see when it is time to pull out into a street or make a turn.  Cars are parked so far from curbs that they are blocking traffic patterns. Crosswalks are not cleared and people have to climb over snow to go across a road.

Homeowners are running out of places to pile snow up near their homes. Yes, we have given up dreaming of a clean driveway. At this point we are simply making paths to get from here to there.

While they look beautiful, icicles on homes are a sign of ice dams. This year they are horrid and I live on fear of dripping noises. Yes, knee highs once again are out on parts of my roof. I am hoping that once the temperature increases a bit, the calcium chloride will help us to avoid water backing into our house.

Winter Woes in the Northeast

Sometimes you just need to vent for a few moments. After that, you go back and curl under three or more blankets dreaming of visible pavement and temperatures that do not harm people, places, and things. I also tend to dream of Disney and hope that Hakuna Matata will make this pass without too much damage.

Hakuna Matata with Lion King

Do you live where winter has over stayed and needs to go far far away?  Let me know what you are looking forward to in the months ahead.

It's Me

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