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Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial

Capzles is a site that I have written about and recommended many times (you can read one of my original posts about it below).  I am currently working with a school that has zero technology.  When I say zero, I mean they don’t even have over head projectors.  This is a NO tech school.  They recently enlisted my help in taking their eighth graders from no tech into a one-to-one environment.  Each of the students will be receiving a laptop to use during instruction.  The challenge: the computers aren’t all the same age, make, or model.  No problem, we will use web 2.0 tools!  The benefit of going from zero to fully immersed: no bad technology habits to break, we are staring from a clean slate! Last week I met with the eighth grade teacher to talk about what learning is currently happening in the classroom and took a look at the scope and sequence of learning for the next semester.  I asked a LOT of questions and together we mapped out a plan for integrating technology that would support and enhance the learning that was already happening.  We decided to begin by adding technology into art, composer study, history, astronomy, poetry, and literature.  I thought about having the students create blogs or wikis to chart and reflect on learning, but in the end decided that Capzles was the best tool for this job.  Capzles lets students organize learning in the form of an interactive timeline.  Students can upload a variety of documents to the timeline including images, videos, documents, and slide shows.  They can also blog directly to the timeline (complete with comments!). The blog feature also provides a way for students to embed other web 2.0 creations.  For the learning that these students will be doing, the visual timeline makes the most sense.  Students can create multiple timelines or compile all of their learning into one timeline.  If students create these timelines based on actual historical dates, they will begin to see the overlap in history, astronomical discoveries, composers, and artists of the time.  This leads to a more complete understanding of how the world that they know has been shaped. Students can also create a timeline based on their learning, each day adding learning to a virtual “journal” of events. I have created weblists of the links these students will be using as a part of their learning over the next semester: To Kill a Mockingbird Poetry Astronomy Art Composers History The tutorial above is a brief introduction to using Capzles, you will have to forgive the drowned rat look…that is what happens when you shovel snow in a blizzard Original post from July 22, 2008: What it is: Capzles is another interactive timeline maker. I really love all the little extras that Capzleshas! With Capzles teachers and students can add photos, videos, audio, and text to their timeline. Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to the timeline making it unique and personalized. Capzles also provides options when sharing your Capzle, it can be private with a specific list of who can view the Capzle or made public for the world to see. How to integrate Capzles into the classroom: Obviously Capzles is a great way for students to create timelines about any subject. The web 2.0 collaborative aspect of Capzles makes it very appealing to students. I think Capzles could also be very valuable in the primary classroom. Students probably won’t be creating their own timelines in Capzles at this age, parent helpers paired with students to create simple timelines would be appropriate. Because Capzles has the capability of adding audio, photos, and text, it would be the perfect place to record students reading throughout the year. As you assess student reading through reading records, record the students using a program such as Gabcast, Gcast,Audacity, or Garageband. Take a digital picture of the student reading. Throughout the year, you can make a Capzle for each student. This is an excellent motivator for students, especially your struggling readers. Students can see their growth throughout the year in pictures, and hear their reading progress made throughout the year. You can share the Capzle with parents (they will go crazy for this keepsake!) and with the students future teacher. How much would you love getting a timeline of your students from the previous year? You would have a jump-start on their struggles and strengths in reading as you quickly flip through their timelines. Cool huh?! Leave a comment and share how you are using Capzles in your classroom.

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Algebra Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 01-10-2012

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What it is:  Algebra Lab may not be much to look at graphically speaking, but the resources here are pretty stupendous!  Algebra Lab was created by Mainland High School teachers in partnership with Georgia Southern University and a host of student assistance.  The site includes really well done lessons, activities, practice pages (online), study aids, glossary, and word problems.  Algebra Lab is like a free, living textbook.  It has enough substance to help students work their way through algebra, while understanding the connections to how that algebra is used in a practical sense.  I didn’t appreciate Algebra until I took physics and chemistry.  When I saw what those equations I learned were actually used for, I could appreciate the learning requirements in algebra.  Algebra Lab does a beautiful job of helping students learn algebra within a context so that they really get a grasp of what these numbers are doing.

How to integrate Algebra Lab into your curriculum: I have enjoyed watching the debate over Algebra unfold in the last year or so.  One side of the argument asks if it is really necessary that EVERY child be required to take algebra.  The other side argues that algebra has great thinking skills that it develops, it gives students additional tools to understand the world through math.  I’m not sure where I land on this debate.  I don’t know that I believe that algebra should be a requirement for every child, and yet I think that my exposure to algebra was valuable.  Maybe the debate just needs to be reframed…HOW should algebra be taught?  I’m all for things being taught within context.  If you can teach any subject in a way that sheds light on other learning it is valuable.  I love when students make the connections between something like ratios and a site like Miniature Earth.  They not only get excited about the math (yes, really) they see a purpose for wanting to learn more about how it works.  Sometimes I think our job of teachers is really to help students see the overlaps that occur in learning so that they can make connections and have a cause to want to dig deeper.

I digress…

Algebra Lab is a great resource for math (and non-math) teachers.  Here you will find lessons, activities, word problems and practice opportunities for students.  Students can directly access the site, or you (the teacher) can pull ideas out to use within any other teaching you are doing.  The site is great for students to explore on their own (blended learning algebra style) or with guidance from a teacher.  As a non-math teacher, I appreciate the way the site helps me think like a math teacher.  It reminds me how all of these pieces connect to other learning.

Tips: If you have a one-to-one setting, students can practice directly on the website for immediate feedback.  Very helpful!

***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in personalized education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Algebra Lab in your classroom!

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