Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Standards Based Grading Field Guide

When I saw this on Facebook, I thought of my colleagues who have moved (or are moving) to Standards Based Grading.  It is a different way of looking at student results (and if I was back in the classroom, it would require me to make both teaching and assessment changes.  Download this free guide from KIDDOM  for an overview as well as a list of resources.

Add Games to your classroom via BrainPOP!

 While I am aware of the games in BrainPOP (and BrainPOP Jr.), it wasn’t until a gaming webinar last week that I truly realized the scope of their offerings.  With 347 games to choose from- here’s an easy way to add gaming to your classroom.  Each game is linked to basic information, standards, and lesson ideas.  I am addicted to the Storify games.  To see all the choices, just search for games. Even though we only have the BrainPOP subscription for grades K-8, the games part of their website is free!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Take your students to space (via AR)

Eric Boehm  (SMS) shared this augmented reality app from NASA - Spacecraft 3D.  This app (for both IOS and Android) lets you see a variety of spacecraft up close and personal.  Here’s a photo of my experience.

What’s nice about this app is you only need to print out one target sheet (open the app and then old it over this sheet (NASA calls it a marker)- you make the selection of which craft to see using the app. Once you open the app, you can request the marked be emailed to you (or you can go here). Enjoy your journey!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trip to Mars (and beyond!)

Discovery Education and Lockheed Martin have partnered to produce Generation Beyond- a series of STEM resources around space travel.  Students can plan a trip to Mars (be sure you make the correct packing decisions) as well as experience a virtual spacewalk.  See the site for lessons plans and more.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Measuring Growth in Science

I saw this blog post on the Discovery Education site- even though we don’t have the subscription to the science techbook, I still found it interesting.  With the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards right around the corner, this article may provide some insight.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How to practice better

In this TED-Ed video, the secrets of effective practice are discussed.  While some were apparent to me (i.e., limiting distractions), I was a little surprised to see the study results of visualization (remember in The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill planned to have the band perform by just thinking the music- seems there is some truth in this!).
For a review of the TED-Ed video, please click here.  For the entire TED-Ed lesson, please click here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Having notification issues

Getting too many notifications in your email from Google?  Check out Richard Byrne's short tutorial on how to change your notifications.  Please click here to read his post from Free Technology for Teachers.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Videos in Google Classroom- all you need is a mobile device

Alice Keeler recently shared this blog post on adding videos to Google Classroom.  No, she is not talking about the videos that you link or that reside in your Google Drive.  You (or your students) can use a mobile device, access Google Classroom (via the app), and then take a photo or video and add it directly to an assignment.  Please see her blog post here for complete directions.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Plant a seed, grow a dream

This might be an inspiring end of year activity.  Bill Zimmerman (the person behind MakeBeliefsComix) has posted a series of ebooks on the site.  I was especially taken with Plant Your Dream Seeds. The subtitle is Writing to Grow Hope in Your Life.  It is filled with both writing prompts as well as Seed Tales from Around the World.

BreakOUT in the states

From the photos I’ve seen on Facebook, I think most of us are familiar with the BreakOut (or escape) room concept.  Your need to escape but you need to solve the clues to break out. (Last Man Standing included it in one of their episodes).  Here’s a chance to challenge your students to break out using The 50 States Digital BreakOut (OK, they are still in process, but several states are complete). Here’s a blog post with some of the details.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BrainPOP Updates

Here’s the latest from BrainPOP:

Fresh Content
We continued to expand our library of diverse, cross-curricular topics this winter and spring. In February, with an eye on helping you bolster Black History Month lessons, we published Jim Crow, Motown, Muhammad Ali, and Tuskegee Airmen. Reptiles got an update in March and we also went live with the House on Mango Street and Marco Polo.

Next up, we’re prepping to launch a topic profiling Harvey Milk. Officially debuting May 22, which California observes as Harvey Milk Day, the new topic is a biography of the activist that contextualizes the LGBTQ+ rights movement and its relationship to some of the modern-day issues kids hear about on the news. Read more about our decision to make this topic - and the thoughtful process behind its creation - on the BrainPOP Educators blog.

New on BrainPOP Jr.

New on GameUp
All About Bird Anatomy (The Cornell Lab) • Code Combat: Ogre Encounter (Code Combat) • Flap to the Future (The Cornell Lab) • Riddle Books (Center for Game Science) • Build-A-Cell: Animal, Build-A-Cell: Bacterial, Build-A-Cell: Fungal, Build-A-Cell: Plant, Build-A-Frog, Build-A-Trout (all from Spongelab).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Money makes the world go round

Here’s a joint program (Discovery Education and Jackson Trust) geared to grades K-6 to talk about financial literacy.  From DE:

Entertaining music videos help children learn money management concepts with storylines around earning, saving, spending and donating, all created by children's education media expert and Emmy-award winner, Dr. Alice Wilder (Blue's Clues, Super Why).

These engaging videos are supported with classroom & family activities and educator guides developed by Discovery Education's award-winning curriculum team, designed to provide methods to teach students how to be money smart kids.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Need Google Drive Help?

Is your Google Drive in need of some organizational help?  Are you having a hard time finding items?  Here’s a blog post with suggestions to bring an end to the chaos and clutter. Thanks to John Sowash for his post.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Trivia and Geography- Perfect Together

While listening to a webinar this afternoon, Eric Curts demonstrated Smarty Pins- it’s a combination of Google Maps with a wide variety of trivia questions.  You start with 1000 miles- and you lose miles for errors in your pin drops (if you are really close- you get bonus points).  This might be an interesting activity in geography classes- and who knows- maybe your students will be motivated to write their own questions? Here’s the blog post describing the product (along with several other Google tools).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Can they really read your mind?

Here’s a new Spotlight on Strategy (from Discovery Education) - Read My Mind!   See if your students can pick out the key terms from a video- how well will they match the list you have prepared?  I think putting the results into a word cloud (i.e, Tagul) would be a great visual for the class.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Science and Storyboardthat

Storyboardthat recently released a series of science lessons.  You can find them here or in the Teacher's Guide section.  Need help with setting up an account?  Please see your school media specialist or technology educator.

Get your Google on!

Ready for a Google challenge?  Select your product and experience level and let the learning begin!  It doesn’t matter if you are a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced- there is always something to learn.  Please see the Alice Keeler post here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Something new in Padlet

I haven’t played with Padlet in a while yet when I saw the post from Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) about their new flowchart feature, I was interested.  There is now an easy way to create a flow chart on Padlet (see Richard’s video here).  I really like the collaborative nature of the product- maybe something to try in your class after testing?

Interactive Website

Eric Boehm shared this website with me last week- Interactive Learning.  When I dug deeper, I realized it is host by a fellow DEN Star (Karen Ogen who taught me how to green screen at DENSI in Nashville!).  It is a small world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Create your own tour

Here’s another Google gem I learned from Eric Curts’ webinar- Tour Builder.  While it is out in Beta, I found it easy to use.  Here is the trip I took over Spring Break.  You can add images, video, and more.  Think how this would work for a novel or a history lesson?   Here’s the blog post describing the product (along with several other Google tools).

Monday, May 15, 2017

In 3 minutes or less

Check123 is a collection (from various sources) of brief videos on a wide variety of topics.  From the arts, science, pop culture there is truly something for everyone!  Here’s a sample from this video encyclopedia!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I am not a gamer however

Even though I am not a gamer, I realize that many of our students do learn via game mode.  Maria Vella reminded me of Prodigy.  This free/subscription site will have you solving math problems to earn points and cast spells.  Not for every student ( I was easily distracted by the music) but something you might want to try.  There is also a paid version (with more options as well as in App purchases).  So create a free teacher account and create codes for your students.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reading even clozer

Eric Curts shared a collection of sites that can be used to create Cloze Reading activities.  The Google Sheets example might appear to be a little confusing but he has provided excellent directions.  But you could use it in foreign language classes as well! For the complete post, please click here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tech and PE

Vicki Davis has a daily series of brief podcasts- click here to listen on the integration of technology in physical education.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It’s getting closer

With many of the schools in parts of the country counting down to the last day (not here in NJ!), posts like this one from MiddleWeb begin to appear with suggestions for the end of school.  While some of these suggestions might now be new, you might want to take a look.  I especially liked numbers 3 and 8.

Memorial Day

May is full of holidays (with Mother’s Day right around the corner)- and we close out the month with Memorial Day (went to the cemetery last weekend with my mother to place flowers).  While the date for Memorial Day changes, the great resources from TeachersFirst do not- please click here for their collection.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Looking for an interesting way to tie in pop culture (Amazing Race) with Google Earth?  Richard Byrne suggests using Venice Backstage to give your students more information about the city then let them explore using Google Earth.  For his complete post at Free Technology for Teachers, please click here.

Live science with Jason Learning Project

There are 3 upcoming opportunities for your students to connect with scientists in the field with the Jason Learning Project.  These sessions are archived (on YouTube) in case the timing is off for your students.  Please click here for information and registration information.

Monday, May 8, 2017

No passport required

Unsure how to use the new Google Earth in your classroom?  Check out Richard Byrne’s post here for suggestions (it’s from his site Free Technology for Teachers).  Numbers 2 and 10 were my favorites! ( Photo is a place I would love to visit!)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Butterfly Life Cycle and Origami

While scrolling through Facebook, I came across the link to this site- Butterfly Life Cycle Crafts.  Looks like a nice hands on project- and I would challenge your students to develop their own life cycles of other animals!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Math Tutorials

Richard Byrne shares a list of 10 math tutorials (other than Kahn).  While some were familiar others were new.  You might want to take a look as we head to the end of the year.

Friday, May 5, 2017

So where does your food come from?

No, the answer is not the grocery store- use this free virtual field trip from Discovery Education to help your students answer this question and explore careers in agriculture!  Please click here for the link with information and registration.  Event is May 11 at 1.

Transfer of Learning

Larry Ferlazzo shares a brief video on how students can transfer learning and it is important.  Please click here for the link.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Art and science via origami

What do origami animals and telescope lenses have in common?  How about origami and heart valve stents?  Fran Mayer shared this Ted Talk (by Robert Lang)  and in it, you will find the answers!  Interesting combination of art and science! (STEAM well before it was in fashion).

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Not Worksheets

In this guest post (on Alice Keeler’s post), John Stevens shares insights from his new book.  Rather than spending time on worksheets, he publishes a free newsletter on how parents can integrate meaningful math at home!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Poems in April

Even though April is over, there is always time for a Diamante Poem.  Use this great organizer from ReadWriteThink to create your masterpiece.  For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.