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Showing posts from August, 2011

Helping Your Math and Science Students with their Homework

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Recently one of my students told me that he forgot his homework because "his shampoo bottle leaked all over it." Now I've heard some pretty interesting excuses, but that one topped the list! Whether it was true or not, the fact is that our kids are often disregarding their homework. Why? Some may be deemed "lazy" by some teachers, while others just don't understand. I was one of those students who would often "get it" in class and totally forget it at home. It's frustrating, isn't it? How can we help our kids do their homework in Math and Science? Perhaps providing a link to a video clip that would help "reteach" or supplement the instruction that took place earlier in the day. Sites like Khan Academy exist to do this. One of the most recent sites that I have come across is Brightstorm , a free homework help site for Math and Science. The site boasts of providing Math help from Algebra 1 to Calculus and Science help for

Watch YouTube Videos "2Together"

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As teachers, we understand that showing a YouTube video is one way of providing another way of representing material. It creates connections for our visual learners. It gives our auditory learners a chance to "hear" more about a topic. Yet, one of the biggest limitations of showing a YouTube clip is that you have to be there. Your students have to be physically present when you watch the clip. In a way, we are limiting the learning process to occur between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm. In the age of "Web 2.0," "Collaboration" and "Innovation," we know that this just doesn't work. What if there were a way to watch a YouTube video after the school day has ended and yet maintain a discussion about that clip too? There is a new way! It's called Watch2gether.com . It allows you watch a YouTube video "2gether" and discuss it in a chat room set up. Users can discuss YouTube videos in a chat window, while watching the video. All

Educational Social Media for 2011-2012

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We live in the age of collaboration and social media, where our students are wired with the need to collaborate and stay connected. As the new school year begins, here are some tips for you to keep your students collaborating and connecting: Edmodo Our students use Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis. Why not develop an educational social network in your classroom called ? It's set up to be very similar to Facebook, with the options to post messages, assignments, and surveys. Students can even have text messages sent to them when assignments are due! I have used Edmodo for over a year now and it has allowed me to create a "paperless" classroom, where students are able to collaborate and connect with classroom content. I can even give students instant feedback / grades. Collaborize Classroom Collaborize Classroom is another way for teachers to extend their classroom discussions to a structured and private online community. It is designed to support classro

Video Clip Search Engine: ClipBlast

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Many of us search for the "perfect" video clip, but are often limited to YouTube and Google videos. Earlier in the Summer, I wrote on Alternatives to YouTube . I would like to continue adding to that list. Why not try ClipBlast ? ClipBlast is a video search engine, which searches through video clips from all of the major networks, PBS, Biography, Hulu, and TNT. It is quickly becoming the leading destination for people searching and browsing for video clips, on-demand television episodes, news reports, sports, television commercials, how-to video, web shows, user video and everything in between. It uses Video Search technology, which helps content providers distribute their product to gain more viewers, views and drive revenue. As a teacher, this site may be a useful tool for you to use to find the right video for your topic, because of the possibilities! I wouldn't recommend having students use this particular site, due to the potential of accessing graphic ma

Digital Dialects (For the Foreign Language Teachers Out There)

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Learning a la nguage can be extremely difficult without practice, which has made software programs like Roseta Stone popular for adults. It has offered learners the chance to have a hand's on connection and interaction with language. We know when we provide multiple ways of representing a topic, students have a better chance to make a connection with material. We live in an age, where we need to do more with less! Where do school districts with tight budgets turn to? Digital Dialects may be the answer. It was created in 2007, as an educational tool for learning languages. Audio files have been incorporated into animations for certain languages. More audio materials are planned. With over 30 languages represented and many interactive games, the site is intended to provide a relaxed way of acquiring basic language skills, giving students a break from the books!

Save Time with Tricks for Google

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We are pressed for time. We have our lesson plans to make, our personal lives to manage, and time to just be ourselves. Why not make yourself more efficient by checking out 100+ Google Tricks for Teachers ? TeachHub.com has created an excellent resource for teachers on how to use Google more efficiently. This article contains Search Tricks, Google Doc Tricks, Gmail and Google Calendar Tricks. Here are some specific tips taken from TeacherHub.com : Convert units . Whether you want to convert currency, American and metric units, or any other unit, try typing in the known unit and the unknown unit to find your answer (like "how many teaspoons in a tablespoon" or "10 US dollars in Euros"). Search within a specific website . If you know you want to look up Babe Ruth in Wikipedia, type in "site:wikipedia.org Babe Ruth" to go directly to the W ikipedia page about Babe Ruth. It works for any site, not just Wikipedia. Search within a spe

The Resurrection of Magazine Covers?

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It is a fact that print media advertisements and down and eBook sales are rising, but don't tell that to our students! Just kidding. In all seriousness, our students may need different ways to express their knowledge of content. Why not create a product that they use and see everyday? You know what I'm talking about! The Seventeen Magazines in their purses. The Sports Illustrated's in their lockers! Why not create a Magazine cover to demonstrate their knowledge and connections of a certain topic? Why not try Magazine Cover from Big Huge Labs. Simply upload your photo, choose your title, and come up with catchy article names and presto! This would make a great history project. Can you imagine taking a picture of Abe Lincoln and creating a whole magazine cover devoted to his life? Why not take an element and use the "article names" to label facts? Why not take an animal and list characteristics?

Welcome to the Zooniverse

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We all learned about the Scientific Method in our younger days. We either got it or didn't. Perhaps we didn't understand because there were no "real life" examples. Zooniverse may have been a great tool to have back then! Zooniverse is a website devoted to the largest, most popul ar and most successful citizen science projects on the Internet. Live projects are on the site, with more added each day. This site is an excellent example of inquiry-based learning! It was created to collect data on a well-defined research question and has evolved through collaboration and innovation. Thousands of people view the projects everyday, creating amazing opportunities for teachers and students, serving as a powerful learning experience, while engaging in "real life" science. There are tons of educational resources for learners of all ages, such as: the Galaxy Zo o and Solar Storm resources. The site also contains blogs and discussion forums, enhancing

In the 21st Century Collaboration and Sharing is Key

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In the 21st Century, collaboration and sharing is the key. Think about all of the reasons for this: increased technology capabilities, increased enrollment in online courses, more workers than ever working from home, mobile phone capabilities, and the overall globalization of the world! Our students need to learn how to collaborate because they will have to once they leave our classrooms! One way to collaborate is sharing files or information. Many educators would like to have students "share" files to complete a project, but they often have to help students navigate through a series of confusing network folders and settings. If you want students to collaborate on one document, Google Docs may be your answer. But what about large projects that involve multiple documents or tasks to be completed by students? What about those students who are always absent, leaving other students scrambling to get the project completed? Wikisend may be your solution. What is Wikisend

Light Box - Bringing the Adage "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" to Life!

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The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" still holds true in education today because our students often need multiple ways of perceiving information. Why do they need this? Brain research tells us that our students need multiple ways of seeing, hearing, and learning material to make "connections" to a concept. Many of us use sites like YouTube and Teacher Tube, allowing us to forget the power of a single photo! Light Box Time Magazine has a unique feature on their website called LightBox . LightBox is a new blog by TIME’s photo department, exploring how multimedia (pictures, video, etc.) and culture defines today’s world. It provides its "Pictures of the Week" from photo journalists around the globe. Pictures include a commentary of material and world-class pictures from Time. The blog will give participants the opportunity to get a daily behind-the-scenes look at the visual side of the news. Pictures cover a variety of topics, allow
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Reading is one of the biggest challenges facing our students today. There are so many different reasons why students may feel this way. They may have difficulties with decoding, fluency, and even staying interested in the material. In the 21st Century classroom, we may need to provide different opportunities for students to read. Keep in mind that we have all types of learners coming in our doors - auditory, hands-on, visual, etc. How do we get all of our learners to read? In the 21st Century, a "one-sized-fits-all" approach may not work. Once I had a student who needed to "hear" the text being read aloud, while following along with a paper copy. Not only did it help my reader, it also gave him the confidence he needed to continue to develop as a reader. Free Audio Books Tools like Books Should Be Free offer free audiobooks for you or your students to download. They provide another way to perceive the material they are reading in their books. Clas

Google Moderator

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Remember the day of discussion forums and discussion walls? Google is trying to popularize them again through an innovative feature called Google Moderator . Google Moderator allows you to post a question (also known as a series ) about a topic that you are interested in discussing. This Google feature allows you to open it up for other users to submit ideas, suggestions, and questions about your question (also known as submissions). Participants can view other discussions and even "vote." If you want to break your "series" into an easier to manage format, you may want to consider creating a topic (aka another way to break up your series). For example, if you create a series called "Professional Athletes," your topics could be called "NFL," "MLB," and "NBA." Watch out though! At this point anyone can come to the site and post a submission to your series. This may be a great way to connect with users beyond your cl