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Showing posts from August, 2012

You Are Your Words!

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How many times have you heard the expression "Watch what you say" or "You are your words!" When we think about these expressions, we often have a negative connotations of what the speaker is trying to say. We have to "tame our tongues" and "shut our traps." :) But what if the expression "You are your words," meant something different? What if kids got excited when you said this to them, instead of rolling their eyes? Well, today may be the day! You are Your Words is a very unique word cloud generator, giving students the chance to create a self portrait illustrated by words. Essentially, you become your words or your words become you.  The site makes it easy for you to combine the perfect picture with the perfect essay. Simply upload a picture of your choice and combine it with a text and you are ready to go. If you like Wordle or Tagxedo , this may be a great site for you to check out! I remember doing something very similar i

Putting the "Cool" Back in School

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As teachers, we are constantly trying to find ways to make our subject matter interesting, fun, and engaging. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we can't. Many of the science and math teachers that I know, struggle with this. They want to add some "fun" to class, but how can you make PEMDAS fun? It is what it is, right? Many of our old college professors gave us the advice that we shouldn't smile until November and by no means should we even laugh in class! School shouldn't be fun. Our kids must just deal with the fact that school is boring at times. I don't know about you, but I always struggled with this advice. Perhaps I'm not a good teacher or my personality isn't compatible with this approach. As I was exploring Pinterest this past weekend, I came across a site called Rhyme 'n Learn . It is created by a guy named Joe Ocando, who has taught hundreds of students math and science. He created the site to help create a different approach to learning

50 Best Apps for Back to School

It's back to school time! Our students will soon be filling our classrooms and schools with books, school supplies, and their SmartPhones. With all of the emphasis in the world of education on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), many schools are turning to students to bring their own laptops, iPads, or phones to use in school. So how can we better use that "pocket computer" that almost all of our students have? A great article was passed along to me by Jasmine called The 50 Best Smartphone Apps for Back to School . Maybe your school supports BYOD and maybe it doesn't, bu the information contained in this article is relevant to all. If you would also like to be featured as a guest blogger or have a story idea, please  email me  for details.

Analytics InfoGraphic

How do analytics and student data even relate? A few days ago, I was approached by Tess to feature an infographic that she created on this very topic. I was amazed to find that analytics, which I normally associate with ecommerce and business, can be used in an academic sense. So the question is, how does it work? Tess' infographic gives an indepth analysis of this important feature of our children's education in the future. It's an interesting way of seeing how the future will look. Check it out! http://newsroom.opencolleges.edu.au/learning-analytics-infographic/ If you would also like to be featured as a guest blogger, please email me for details. 

Tools for Tutoring Students

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Tutoring and helping our students achieve has always had a focus in education. When I was in school, the main focus was on "peer" tutoring or on the dedicated teachers who would stay after school to help you. When I first started getting into teaching, organizations like Sylvan Learning Center were starting to gain a lot of steam to help students "catch up." We also live in the age of the "super-involved" student, who may not be able to tutor on a  regular school schedule. Due to the needs of our students and society, tutoring has evolved and is continuing to evolve. The emergence of technology has improved the opportunities we are giving our students, but in many ways we are still trying to figure it out. Opportunities exist everywhere! From cell phones to iPads to laptops, our students can now "view on demand" lessons to receive that extra help. It's what has made Khan Academy, such a valuable resource in the educational community today

Resources for Teachers from Teachers

It must be the nature of teaching, but we enter the year with an anticipation and willingness to try new ideas and technologies. Then December hits and well....we begin to lack motivation! With this eagerness and anticipation of a new school year, here are some resources for you that have been passed along to me from some of the best in the field:  1. 100+ Video Sites Every Educator Should Bookmark - Emma Taylor found this excellent article written by Alvina Lopez, which gives you tons of resources for sharing video in class. Does your school block YouTube? This may be a great article to check out, so that you are able to show video clips without taking the YouTube route! 2. Instant Classroom - Heather Dougherty shared this cool classroom management tool with me. Instant Classroom provides a way of randomly making groups, randomly calling on students with a random name generator, and provides a tool for making seating charts (if you need the software to do this). 3. Speed Ma

Full Steam VocabAhead!

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As we begin the school year over the next few weeks, many of our students are studying for their SAT's or maybe they have forgotten some of their vocabulary words over the summer. Imagine that! :)  How do we help these students remember or study for their SAT's? Research has shown us that representing materials in multiple ways is an effective strategy to reinforce knowledge and learning. Research has also shown us that students need to have at least 6 meaningful interactions with vocabulary words to reinforce its use and meaning. A great resource for you to use is VocabAhead . There are several unique features to this website. Although mostly geared to a secondary audience, there is a feature to create your own customized vocabulary list for your students (according to grade level). Vocab ahead provides a short video explaining the definition of a word and an example explaining its use. You can pick individual vocabulary words to show to your students through a simple

Wiggio is a Great Collaboration and Study Tool

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Education is shifting from a five day a week 8 am to 3 pm venture to a 24-7-365 enterprise. How do we give students options to learn beyond the school day? How can we give students opportunities to collaborate with study groups? How can we give students in our classrooms opportunities to learn through working in groups online? Wiggio may be a great tool to accomplish all of these things. You can set up private study groups, where students can collaborate, review, and learn material. You can use Wiggio's calendar feature to create a group calendar. You can help groups of students manage tasks through the To-Do List feature. You can give your students the opportunity to have virtual meetings, where they can meet from home instead of the local coffee shop. There is a polling feature that allows you to quickly poll a group about options for tomorrow's class. Instead of sending 200 emails, you can use the Shared Files feature to share documents, PowerPoints, etc. Instead of sendin