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Showing posts from November, 2011

FotoFlexer

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The other day I came across an excellent photo editor site called FotoFlexer , which allows you to edit your photos online for free!You can easily upload photos from your computer or sites like Picasa, Photobucket, and Flicker. I really like the fact that you don't need a username and account to play around and edit photos. You may want to sign up for the extra features and ability to save your photos, but this may provide you an excellent way of letting your students create without being bombarded with another password. I also like the fact that you can save photos back to your computer as either a JPEG or PNG file. There are numerous effects, ways to decorate, animations, ways or distorting or manipulating text. How could I use this for UDL?  Vocabulary is always a difficult thing to teach, because our kids are often bombarded with it throughout the day or just plain don't remember the terms. FotoFlexer could provide another way of representing terms, increasing retenti

No Money for Field Trips? Visit an Art Museum Without Leaving Your Classroom

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Art has played such an important role in history. It has influenced rulers, social reforms, and led revolutions. Not only has it played an important role in history, but it is very closely linked to many of the subject areas that we teach in our schools today. Yet, due to budget cuts, it is one of the first programs to go. Not to get into a debate about the importance of the arts, but I would like to give you a way to share those historical paintings with your students without leaving the classroom. Google's Art Project provides a way of representing the important works of history all from your computer. This site is very UDL friendly! Why do you ask? Click on any painting of your choice and you have the ability to zoom in and zoom out, customizing the display of information ( Checkpoint 1.1 ). This is perfect for students with disabilities, but it is also a great tool for your students to analyze a painting even further.  The Create an Art Collection feature, gives you t

Need Help Getting Started with iPads?

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The holiday season is approaching and many of us have that "have-to-have" item on our list. The iPad. There has been a tremendous amount of attention given to the iPad,  particularly in education. Everyone has to have one. Everyone needs one. We want them in our classrooms for all of our kids. But once you get one, what do you do with it?Many of us are lost when it comes to how they work and apply to education. Here are some good resources to use when it comes to using them in your classroom: Getting Started with iPads is a good site to learn the tips and tricks needed to operate one and use in the classroom.  Special Education Aps gives you all the information that you need to enhance the learning experience for our kids who struggle with learning.  Learning and Teaching with iPads Blog is a great way to connect with other educators on how to use the iPad in the classroom.  iPod and iPad Resources for Pre-K-12 teachers . This Livebinder contains a variety of resou

Move Over Brittanica and Make Room for Life

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Recently I came across a very impressive resource called the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) , an online encyclopedia collection of information about all living things on Earth. EOL was started in 2007 with the impressive task of "providing a webpage for every living species." How are they doing it? They have created a trusted online community where information is freely exchanged and made available to anyone and everyone. After exploring the site, I began to realize this is a great tool for science teachers who want to design a lesson that will impact all kinds of learning styles (UDL). For example, imagine that you are a teacher who is taking the opportunity to teach your students about your local habitat. You may begin by having students research a specific plant or animal on EOL. Students can learn the scientific name, habitat and ecology information, population, diet, etc. Multiple Means of Representation:  Sometimes reading does not "connect all of the dots"

Making Word Walls A Part of Your Classroom

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Our students are learning, reading, and interacting with content in so many different ways each day. Yet, how much time do we spend on developing vocabulary? Do we expect our kids to "know" it from either reading the book or listening to us. It may not be happening. There is a major emphasis on the development of vocabulary skills in education today. From professional development to graduate courses to initiatives...all are talking about it. Why? Because our students need to be able to understand vocabulary to understand what they are reading. This has brought up the importance of developing Word Walls in our classrooms, which is a visual representation of important terms for the unit or chapter . Word Walls not only emphasize "seeing" the word, but also it encourages students to "listen" for and "use" it. Simply put, they offer multiple ways of representing and expressing the meaning of vocabulary terms. What are the limitations of Word Wall

QR Codes in Education

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The other day I was hungry, so I walked over to the counter and grabbed a banana. To my surprise, I noticed a new sticker next to the Chiquita Banana sticker. It was a funny looking thing called a QR code. You can't go anywhere these days without seeing them on business cards, products, and yet many people are unaware of what these things look like. QR stands for Quick Response Code, which is essentially a bar code that you can use to access websites, videos, etc. on your SmartPhone. Many of our students have SmartPhones to begin with. Why not provide a QR Code for students to access your class website, extra study materials, etc.? QR Codes are so easy to create. You can go to websites like  Goqr.me  or Create QR Code .  Simply generate the code and copy and paste into a worksheet. This may be a great way for students to access extra materials for your class. One teacher that I know provides students with a homework assignment that contains both a website link and a QR code

Instead or Re-teaching....Why Not "Re"-Cord?

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A few months back, I had met a math teacher who was teaching in a new way. He would record his lesson using screen recording software ahead of time. When students arrived, he would press play and change roles. Instead of the teacher, he would shift into a support role with students. He then places these video clips on a website that he developed, so that students can access it later in the evening. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Many teachers are already teaching this way, using sites like Khan Academy . Khan Academy is great, but its subject matter is pretty limited to math, history, art, and science. What if what I teach isn't available? You may want to consider using a screen recording site like Screencast-O-Matic , which allows you to record your voice and computer screen in just a few simple clicks. There is no software to download and it's pretty easy to use. I teach Accounting and often have a difficult time finding tutorials online.  Many of my students are ab

Directions? You're Posting About Directions? Directions? Really?

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I don't know about you, but I have noticed that the "honeymoon" period is over in my classroom. My students have revealed their true selves! Can you believe that they don't pay attention to the directions I have projected on my computer screen or written on the board? Notice that I'm being sarcastic :) ? Depending on the type of directions that you are writing on the board, you may be able to get away with just using a picture or pictures to describe the task. For example, the other day I didn't want my students to log onto their computers. When I have written the instructions on the board, it is often ignored! The other day I tried something new. I put a "No Computers" sign (see picture) on my board. Can you imagine my excitment when my students actually got it? Usually there are about 3 to 4 students who just don't understand or look at the directions. Imagine my excitement when every single student got it! I tried taking this a step furt