Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences

Facing spring and a new state test we may find ourselves spending so much time preparing ourselves and students for this assessment that we lose sight of what we know works best in education.  Here's Howard Gardner speaking for Edutopia on multiple intelligences, students, and assessment.  How do you think his ideas can be implemented in public schools today?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Search Google for Interactive Sites

Did you know that you can do a search in Google specifically for interactive websites?  These websites are engaging for students working at individual computers and when displayed to the class.  Here's how:

  1. Open Google.
  2. In the top right corner of the screen look for the wheel with spokes and click.
  3. Choose Advanced search.
  4. In the appropriate fields, type your search terms.
  5. In the Need more tools? section, go to File type:
  6. Choose Shockwave Flash (.swf).
  7. Click the Advanced Search button.

The list of sites you get will only list files on your topic that use Flash or Shockwave, so they have interactivity.  Always test sites completely before using with students, and post the link on your own web page for convenience and security.

Here's one called Wind Power Game that I found doing an advanced search for energy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flip Book from ReadWriteThink

Take a look at the Student Interactives on the ReadWriteThink website, and you'll find the interactive flip book that's a great writing tool for many grade levels.  This helps students to create tabbed flip books up to ten pages.  An all-purpose tool, the flip book allows students to create their own picture books, take reading notes, collect research facts, or make question and answer study guides.  ReadWriteThink provides lesson plans using the flip book as a start, but this would be a wonderful interactive to integrate into many unit plans.  The uses are endless!

Just click the Get Started button and the program will carry you and your students through the process from writing to publishing.  Take it for a test-drive yourself before using it with your class, and you'll see just how easy it is to use your computer as an easy publishing tool.

The Flip Book has four easy steps to completion.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Try Mangahigh for Math

Looking for some new math tools from the online world?  Look no further, is here for you with more than 40,000 math questions and 12 math games.  Mangahigh is a free K-12 resource with adaptive technology so that questions are always suited to individual students at any level (grade-level, gifted, RTI, remediation, and special education).

Sign up before November 15, and you will receive free professional development resources for their math curriculum!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Become a Search-Smart Internet User with Google Tips

Today a simple Google search can help you to quickly find exactly what you need if you know the best methods for searching.

Here's how to find . . .
Weather--Type "weather" followed by the city and state, zip code, or city and country.
Time--Type "time" and the name of the city.
Calculation--Enter the calculation you'd like done in the search box.
Unit Conversion--Enter the desired conversion into the search box.
Synonym--Place a tilde (~) immediately in front of your search term.
Definition--Type the word "define", a space, then the word you want defined.
Spell Checker--Simply type a word into the search box, and it checks for the most common spelling.  The "did you mean . . .?" result indicates an alternate spelling choice.

Want to know the name of a song or some words to a forgotten song?  Just type in the lyrics you know, using an asterisk (*) in place of the missing words, and Google will find your song.  Try this one, and let me know in the comment section below what you found.  "* * is in my ears and in my".

Many more search features are available.  To learn how to use them, click this link to become a search-smart Internet user.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Promethean Users Old and New

There's no time like now to take a look at what's already available to help as you work with an interactive whiteboard.  Since both of my campuses use Promethean boards, here are some great links for you to use throughout the year.

Promethean Planet--Register now for a free account if you haven't yet.  This site has a wealth of resources for teachers at all grade levels.  Download resource packs to add new images and backgrounds to your flipcharts.  Browse and download flipcharts by topic or by state standard. Their ActivTips are short, tutorial videos that show just enough to get you started with just about anything Promethean.  (also linked to campus web)

RRISD Flipchart Wiki--These flipcharts are available from Round Rock teachers.  No need to join the wiki, just use its resources.  Some of the flipcharts are tweaked from Promethan Planet, and some are original, but the great part is that they are listed by grade level and follow the ARRC! You are welcome to save them and use as-is or adjust to your liking.  (also linked to campus web)

Promethean Boards Bound--This teacher's blog has some helpful tutorials that explain how to do almost anything you will need with a Promethean board, voters, and flipcharts.  Take a few minutes to survey what's available so that next time you think, "I wonder how to . . .", you'll remember this resource.

Try this blog for a wealth of information both basic and more advanced.

I know that I'm looking forward to this year's new ActivCafe.  Round Rock teachers who use Promethean products will get together once a month to learn from Promethean company educators, share ideas, and have time to create.  And yes, there will be good snacks involved!  Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Solar System Scope

Solar System Scope is an online 3-D interactive simulation of, yes, the solar system.  The controls are simple and intuitive, but since everything is well labeled, you can just follow the on-screen directions.  Click to begin . . . drag background to move camera view . . . double click to visit a planet . . . use menu to select a new view.  Mood music plays in the background, but you can mute if it becomes too much.  This is a new website, and not all of the controls are functional yet, so watch for updates.  Take a look even if you're not teaching planets or the solar system right now. 
Solar System Scope

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Refrigerator Magnet Poetry

Awesome fun for poetry lovers!  Here's a chance to manipulate words, play with sounds and meanings in a new format--just like on your fridge at home.  Magnetic Poetry offers several different kits of words.  Select from The Artist, Genius, The Poet, Romance, or Office related words. Just move the "magnets" from the kit into a meaninful poetic form--rhyme or not--any form will do.  Teachers with interactive white boards may want to let students move the words, but even without the display board, students can work from their own computers or from the teacher's projected computer.  The submit option and a print option allow poets to share and keep their work.  This is a new form of word play that students are sure to enjoy.

Take a look at the sample below.

Use for poetry or for word play--the options are only as limited as our imaginations!
It's probably a good idea to stay out of the poetry archives since we never know what somebody else might have written since we last visited the site.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Have you joined Skype in the Classroom?

We know that Skype, the home of free Internet phone calls and chats, has opened the door to many learning opportunities for our students.  The trick is finding the ideas and cooperating groups to talk to as we integrate this awesome communication tool.  While communicating with the classroom next door or even across the district may be a first step, there has to be something more we can do.

Skype in the Classroom Home Page
Meet Skype in the Classroom.  This free community for educators was created by Skype to connect teachers and students with common interests worldwide.  All you have to do is sign up for a free account.  Then be sure to indicate your areas of interest so that you can be grouped with others of similar interest. 

Now you can find lesson ideas, tips and tricks, resources for your classroom, experts, and others with whom your class can communicate locally, nationally, and internationally.  How cool would it be to get a new perspective on movement of tectonic plates from a class that resides in the ring of fire?  Wouldn't it be fun to find an audience for your students' writing on the other side of the world?

Register now for your free account.  All you'll need is a Skype software download, a webcam or document camera, and a microphone.  It's that easy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Want to "Friend" Benjamin Franklin?

My Fake Wall offers an online space for students to create Facebook-like profile pages for historical figures.  How fun is that?  Sign up for a free account, then create away!  Students can create pages under your profile, then they will all be listed in one area for you to view and share.  This would be a great, new way to display historical research.  These walls provide a real-life application that students truly understand.  I think they'll love it.  Take a look . . .

As with any online application, be sure to try it yourself before planning to use it with your students.  Almost any free application has ads on the page, so you want to be sure that they're appropriate for students to view. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can you Digitalk?

Do you think you can interpret student messages? I can't, and I'll be the first to admit none of that comes easily to me.  Entering technology from the background of teaching English, I have an especially hard time using digitalk in any form.  You might see me use a smiley to show that I'm trying to soften a message, but if I mean "you", I write or text YOU and not U.  If I want to say "later", I type LATER rather than L8R. It's like forcing myself to say "ain't"--just can't do it without sounding affected.

For those of you who want to know some of the latest digitalk, take a look at the short list below from NetLingo.  Some of it you may want to use, some you may need to know, and some are just good for a laugh.

ACORN: A Completely Obsessive Really Nutty Person
AITR: Adult In The Room
C-P: Sleepy
CICYHW: Can I Copy Your Homework
E123: Easy as 1, 2, 3
G2G: Got to Go
GI: Google It
J/C: Just Checking
KIPPERS: Kids In Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings (my fave)
LTTIC: Look, The Teacher Is Coming
potato: Person over 30 acting 21
r u da: Are you there?
soz: Sorry
w's^: What's up?
wru: Where are you?
X-I-10: Exciting
zerg: To gang up on someone
10Q: Thank you
*$: Starbucks
,!!!!: Talk to the hand
CWOT: Complete Waste of Time
HBASTD: Hitting Bottom And Starting To Dig
NNWW:  Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink
SLAP: Sounds Like A Plan

Take a look at the entire list on NetLingo.  Be sure especially to read through their "Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know".  It's always good to be aware.