Featured Post

Aviary Education

Great news! Aviary has come out with a special education edition!  In the Education version, teachers can create private student accounts, manage assignments and projects, use the image editor, vector editor, audio editor, and music creator.  All content and images will be 100% school safe!  Right...

Read More

Science and Technology Office of Naval Research

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 02-04-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is: The Office of Naval Research has a great interactive site filled with science and technology exploration for students.  On the site, students can explore oceanography, space, and blow the ballast.  Each section of the site has sub categories that let students narrow down their focus.  The majority of the site is purely informational with accompanying images and short quizzes.  My favorite portion of the site is the seasonal constellations.  It really is the star of the site (no pun intended).  The constellation interactive focuses on the constellations that can be viewed during each season.  When students click on a season, they will see the constellations and options to show/hide the pictures, lines and names of the stars.  The explanation of constellations and the seasonal impact on what students will see in the night sky is fantastic.  In the Teacher’s Corner, you will find great animations for each topic (space, oceanography, and submarines).  These are fantastic visualizations of complex concepts made simple for students.

How to integrate Science and Technology Office of Naval Research into the classroom: The Science and Technology Office of Naval Research isn’t the flashiest site I’ve seen.  In fact, it looks a whole lot like a site that was created in 1995.  I recommend it, in spite of the aged design, because of the wealth of information that it offers students and the student-friendly language and explanations it uses.  This is a great site for students to conduct a research project in the early years.  The information is concise, easy to understand, and offered in bite-size chunks.  Students can approach the topic of oceanography, submarines and space independently.
As I said above, the constellations based on season is pretty neat. It shows students the constellation and allows them to overlay the image with additional information as they want it.  If your students are studying seasons or constellations, this is a nice visual and description.  Students could explore the constellations on classroom computers, or better yet, together as a class on a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Google Sky is amazing, but sometimes it can be overwhelming with detail before students understand the basics of what they are looking for in the night sky.  The images on this site are a great first step that can lead to a next level of detail in sites like Google Sky.  I love that technology lets us bring the whole universe into our classrooms as a smaller scale planetarium.  As a side note, if you have an iPad…go download Go Skywatch now. You will thank me!
Be sure to check out the animation section, these are wonderful for introducing students to complex concepts.  The animations would be great on classroom computers as part of a science center rotation.  They are perfect for sharing with the whole class on an interactive whiteboard! At Anastasis, students keep a running vocabulary collection where they create a “glossary” that they can refer back to. They do this in Evernote, these animations are perfect for linking to within the glossaries so that they can refer back to an illustration of the word.
Tips: The Science and Technology Office of Naval Research includes a teacher resource section.  This is where you will find the Animation Gallery I mentioned above.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science and Technology Office of Naval Research in  your classroom!

How to Do Research Interactive Graphic

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 29-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is:  The research process can be a hard one for kids to master.  As a student, I remember thinking that it was a long process of random steps that were supposed to somehow come together as a completed project. I was constantly convinced that I would forget one of those steps and the whole thing would come crashing down around me.  I’ve seen this same behavior in our students at Anastasis. We mention the word research, and we are met instantly with groans.  Kids don’t really dislike research though, they do it all the time voluntarily.  Kids want to know how to be masters at parkour and they immediately search YouTube and Google for videos, tips, blogs, etc. to learn all about it.  Kids hear someone talk about dub step and will go through videos and connect with others who know about dub step.  They didn’t believe me when I told them this is research.  The Kentucky virtual library has a great interactive that leads kids through the research process step-by-step and lets them dig deeper into the portions that they don’t understand.  It has a fun game board-like interface so that it isn’t intimidating for kids to go through.  Every step of the process is covered from initial planning, to searching for information, to taking notes, to using the information, reporting and evaluating.  I’m not a stickler for this process happening exactly as it is described, but I appreciate that the site gives students a starting point so they aren’t so overwhelmed with the “research beast.”

How to integrate How to do Research Interactive Graphic into the classroom: The How to do Research Interactive Graphic is a great site to keep bookmarked and available for easy access for students throughout the school year.  Any time they are faced with the daunting task of performing a research project, they can access the interactive graphic.  Whenever your students are working on research, set up your classroom computers as a “research station” where students can perform searches online and access this graphic.  The interactive graphic will keep your students moving when they are feeling overwhelmed and stumped and provide a great foundation for conducting research.
The graphic is also a great way to introduce students to the research process.  Using an interactive whiteboard, or projector-connected computer, you can lead students through the process, explaining specific areas of focus for the project or your classroom.  I like that this site doesn’t just focus on the research paper, but shows students that research can have a variety of outcomes.
Tips: Within the graphic, there are pages that you can print out for your students.  Check out the notes section for an example of this.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using How to do Research Interactive Graphic in  your classroom!

Smithsonian Wild: 206,340 images of animals around the world

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 28-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , ,

1

What it is:  Smithsonian Wild is a site that I learned about from @shannonmmiller the other day through a tweet.  This is a part of the Smithsonian website that I hadn’t seen before, so I was excited to take a look at it.  Smithsonian Wild lets students explore 206,340 camera trap images collected at research sites around the world.  Animals are searchable by species name or location in the world.  The site is pretty incredible, it puts students up close and personal with animals and the research being done on the animals around the world. Students can view still images, videos, and information about the animal.  In addition, students can learn more about the research being conducted concerning animals around the world.

How to integrate Smithsonian Wild into the classroom: Smithsonian Wild is a great site to help kids see animals in their natural environment. Students can use Smithsonian Wild as a starting place for a research project, a creative writing prompt (students as field researchers), or as part of a habitats and environment inquiry unit.
Students will enjoy exploring this site. Wild animals always pull kids in and keep them excited about watching for what comes next.  This is a great one for a big screen like an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  The students will feel like they are right there with the animals. This is pretty much the next best thing, even the zoo can’t touch the number of animals that kids can see up close.  :)
This site is a fantastic way for students to learn geography.  As they “travel” to new places, they will be able to associate the country/continent with the animals that are indigenous.  Use a Google Earth Map to “track” animals by dropping a pin in the country that they are found in.  Students can attach images and facts to each pin on their custom-made map.

Tips: Are you students learning about animals and habitats? They should also make sure to take a look at these habitat websites and Arkive.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Smithsonian Wild in  your classroom!

You Are Your Words

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Character Education, Create, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 27-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

24

What it is:  The American Heritage Dictionary has a new webtool that lets students create a self-portrait using their words.  Students can link to places where they have already written (Facebook or Twitter) or write something unique specifically for their portrait.  The unique image can be shared, saved and printed.  You Are Your Words works best in Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari Internet browsers.  I’ve found that pictures with high contrast work better than pictures with similar coloring and low contrast.  After you create you image, you can adjust the colors, contrast and font.

How to integrate You Are Your Words into the classroom: You Are Your Words would be a great getting-to-know-you activity.  It would give students a neat way to share who they are with the class.  At the beginning of the year, a You Are Your Words bulletin board or classroom display would be a fun way for everyone to get to know each other.  This site could lead to really interesting discussions about the power that our words have, what they reveal about us, and how they impact people’s perception of us.
You Are Your Words would also be a great way for students to create a mini biography about a hero, person of interest, historical figure, etc.  Students could upload a picture and include famous quotes or words that describe the person.  These could be used as part of a larger project, or as an independent research project.  The site asks where the eyes and mouth of the picture are, so uploading another image or diagram to describe might not work.
Students can create character description cards with words, quotes and phrases that describe fictional characters in the reading they are doing.   If you have a class or small group that is reading the same book, each student can choose a character to do this for.  Create “trading cards” of the characters that students can create and share with each other so that each student has a card for each character in the book.  If students are doing an author study, they could create a “You Are Your Words” about the author.
As students are learning about different roles within government, they could create a You Are Your Words image about each position using a picture of the person who holds that position in government.  The writing could be related to the job description of the position.
The picture above is an example of a You Are Your Words image that I created with the words from this post!
Tips: If you have an iDevice, the Word Foto app works very similarly and lets you use ANY picture.  This allows students to define vocabulary words with pictures.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using You Are Your Words in  your classroom!

New issue of Project PLN and The Nerdy Cast…

Posted by admin | Posted in Project PLN | Posted on 26-03-2012

Tags: , , , ,

0

I am totally falling down on the job.  The new issue of Project PLN came out a week ago (two weeks?) and I am just now getting around to posting about it.  Fail.  It is a good thing @thenerdyteacher and I decided to go bimonthly on it.

This month Nick and I shared some of our favorite educational blogs.  Of course our lists could have gone on and on (kind of like my Google Reader feeds), but we managed to narrow it down into a reasonable number.  Nick introduced me to a few new blogs I wasn’t following and I’m happy to say I’ve increased the number of feeds I subscribe to to include them.  Worth the extra reading time!  I hope that some of these awesome bloggers are new to you and that they encourage you and inspire you.  They certainly do that for us!

You can check out the new issue here.

We started out as an every monthly e-zine dedicated to sharing great stories from our PLN with he world around us. After a year, the time constraints of running a monthly magazine took its toll on us as we tackled new challenges and built new schools. We had hoped to move to an every other month format still wanting to bring stories to everyone out there looking for educational inspiration. After some long breaks and deep discussions, we have finally decided that quality is much more preferred over quantity. Below you will find our new schedule effective this year.

The thought of stopping Project PLN was never really an option for us because we just love sharing too much and we want to give others the chance to share with everyone as well. Although we are the editors of Project PLN, we feel this is everyone’s magazine. We are excited to move into a more structured format to all of our readers a chance to submit their ideas and see the thoughts on their PLN here.

We might just make another creepy video for old time’s sake.

Thanks again for all of the support over the past couple of years. We hope you stick around for the new changes.

-Nick and Kelly

Editors – Project PLN

Publication schedule for a year:

Call for Articles: June

Issue 1: August –

Call for Articles: August

Issue 2: November

Call for Articles: November

Issue 3: February

Call for Articles: February

Issue 4: May

In other Nerdy Teacher News, @thenerdyteacher and @tgwynn have a new project: The Nerdy Cast.  How those boys have time for this, I will never know!  I will say, that I will happily sit on the receiving end of their genius.

Web Adventures: Explore Science

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 21-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is:  Web Adventures-Explore Science is a site by Rice University.  Web Adventures lets students explore science-one game at a time.  Each adventure has a section dedicated to students and a section dedicated to teachers who are using the adventures in the classroom.  In the Cool Science Careers section, students can experience what it means to take on science as a career.  They can go through Profession Pathfinder to see which science careers best match their personality based on their answers to career interest questions.  Students can select from five different science career fields to virtually try out activities that are typical for the career.  With Zoom In, students can learn about different science jobs and read interviews with real scientists.  In the CSI: Experience, students learn all about what it takes to be a forensic scientist.  There are four cases that students can work to solve.  As they solve the crimes, they will learn about forensic biology, ballistics, toxicology, medical examination, fingerprint analysis, digital forensics, fire investigation, and facial reconstruction.  In the MedMyst section, students will use the scientific method and scientific process to investigate infectious disease outbreaks.  Students can work with the N-Squad forensic scientists to solve an alcohol related crime.  Throughout the game, students learn what alcohol does to the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems.  In the Reconstructors series of games, students can learn about the health effects of drug abuse while learning neuroscience.

These games are really entertaining while giving students information and understanding of science in body systems, drugs, environmental science, forensic science, infectious diseases, science careers, and the scientific method.

How to integrate Web Adventures: Explore Science into the classroom: This is a fun find.  Web Adventures Explore Science, helps students explore science in a new way.  I like that the focus of the site isn’t just to deliver information.  The mission is really to engage students in science and reveal how science is used in a variety of careers to solve problems.  The games drop students into the middle of a mystery, their job is to help solve crimes, discover answers and connect the dots.
This is a fun site for middle and high school students to explore.  It can be used to introduce a new scientific discipline or topic, to help students dig deeper in the learning and skills they are getting in science class, or to help them discover what it means to be a scientist.  The games are best in a computer lab or 1 to 1 environment where students have access to a computer for an extended amount of time.  They aren’t really short enough to be a center on classroom computers.  A whole class could explore and solve together using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  While not ideal, it would allow them to pick up the benefits of the adventures.
At Anastasis, we started “crave” classes.  These are classes that we offer every Wednesday afternoon.  Students are given a catalog of classes at the beginning of a 5 week block.  They get to choose which class they would like to enroll in for the 5 week period based on what they are “craving.”  Our teachers choose an area of passion to teach.  @bestmscott is currently holding a forensic science class for her crave.  The kids are LOVING it!  After learning about some forensic science, they set out to solve some mysteries.  I have a feeling they would geek out over the CSI adventure on Web Adventures Explore Science.  Today the kids were creating their very own mysteries that needed forensic science to be solved.  I was teaching my own class so I didn’t get to see how the whole lesson fleshed out.  What I do know: kids were taking my finger print, asking me to pop balloons covertly, and creating a list of suspects.  Their classmates will have the job of using the forensic clues to solve the mystery.  SO stinking cool.  Our students are the best.  Our teachers are out of this world.  I have to brag on them!

Tips: Web Adventures has a new iPad app called NeuroKnowledge that quizzes students on scientific understanding.  The app is free in the app store.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Web Adventures: Explore Science in  your classroom!

BBC-History of the World

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 19-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , ,

1

What it is:  The BBC is full of fantastic resources for learning.  Recently, I came across the British Museum’s History of the World.  It is WAY cool!  This is like a fantastic virtual museum collection that makes it possible for students to see primary sources up close.  Each piece in the collection adds a little bit to the story of the history of the world.  The objects in the collection each have a quick overview about the piece, and the option of delving in deeper and learning more.  Objects can be filtered by location, theme, culture, size, color, material, contributor and BBC area.  This is a really neat way to view and explore world history.  SO much better than the dry textbook fact collection that I had.

How to integrate BBC History of the World into the classroom: The BBC History of the World collection is a great way for students to explore and engage history.  Being able to go through the objects and primary sources connects them to story and people from another time in a way a textbook just can’t touch.  This is a fantastic place for students to begin an exploration of history; to find an object that “speaks” to them and learn more about the object and the people who created the object.  This site gives students the opportunity to engage history.
Instead of starting a history course chronologically, let students select an object or piece from the collection that interests them.  Let them learn more about the object, the people and the time period that the object was created in.  Let them teach others about the object and its importance.  How was it that this object was so well preserved? What does it tell us about that period?  What stories does it tell?  Give students creative license to do this.  Do they want to make it a creative writing piece where the object is personified? Do they want to write a letter as if they were from that period of time explaining the object?  Do they want to create a mockumentary about the object?  Whatever they do, place the object, along with the others chosen by the class, on a timeline so that students can get a sense for where their object falls in history.  Let the kids teach each other and explain why they chose the object they did.  Not only will kids be exploring world history, they will be learning something about each other.
Write a class story with a common thread.  Create a time traveling team as a class, these are the characters that visit the time period where they find the objects that they have chosen from the BBC History of the world site.  Write the beginning and ending of the story as a whole class.  Each student can be responsible for writing their own “chapter” where the time traveling team visits their time period.
I didn’t enjoy history when I was in school.  It wasn’t ever presented as a story (which I love).  Instead I got a collection of facts, dates and names to memorize for the next test.  I had a really hard time understanding why anyone would be passionate about history.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that history is really just a set of rich stories that we try to piece together to help us understand who we are in place and time.  That I enjoy. That I can get behind.  Help your students discover the story in history!

Tips: At the bottom of the window, you will see a back and forward arrow.  This lets students time travel.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using BBC History of the World in  your classroom!

Draw a Stickman has a new episode!

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, inspiration, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 16-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2

What it is:  Draw a Stickman is a fun little site that I wrote about last year here.  They have a brand new episode of our little stickman friend!  For those of you who haven’t seen it (or don’t remember), Draw a Stickman is a delightful place for kids to be creative, read, imagine and draw.  Students are given sets of directions that they must complete to help out the hero of the story, a stickman figure that they created.  Everything that they draw comes to life and interacts with the rest of what is on the screen.  Brilliant!  These mini interactive stories that have students reading and following directions, solving mysteries, thinking creatively and solving problems. The new episode is just as charming as the last!

How to integrate Draw a Stickman into the classroom:Draw a Stickman is a fun interactive site that uses student creations to tell a story.  Students can complete the interactive on individual computers, iDevices (the site works great!), interactive whiteboards, or classroom computers.

Aside from just fun practice at following instructions, Draw a Stickman would be a great fictional story prompt.  Students have the bones of a story and can fill in details, vivid verbs, adjectives, etc. to tell the story.  Students can focus on fleshing out their hero, the plot of the story, the details, the setting, etc.  Students can come up with a moral of a story that they add in the customized ending.  This link can be sent as a tweet, facebook link, or in an email to accompany the story they have created.  These stories would be fun to share as a class…how many different stories did students come up with using the same base?

On an interactive whiteboard, students can go through the story together, labeling the different parts of the story (beginning, problem, climax, resolution, ending).  This interactive can help students identify parts in a story including setting, characters and plot.

Tips: After you have gone through Draw a Stickman, you can personalize the message at the end and share.  Add any two lines of text that you wish.  This could be a fun way to reveal messages to your students!
Draw a Stickman is also in the App store on iTunes!

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

ClassConnect: all-in-one digital organization for the classroom

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools | Posted on 14-03-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is:  ClassConnect is a website I have written about in the past (here) that has made some great changes that make it worth taking another look!  ClassConnect is a fantastic one-stop-shop for collaborating, storing, and organizing your life as an educator.  The real powerhouse of ClassConnect is the ability to build, organize and share lessons and resources easy.  You won’t be pressed to remember where you stored everything (dropbox, diigo, pinterest, twitter favorites) because with ClassConnect you can store it all in one place.  Even better, you can search and use lessons and resources that other teachers have built.  The collaborative nature of ClassConnect makes it easy to work together on planning out and sharing learning.  ClassConnect even started a great movement called “United We Teach” encouraging educators to share more.  ClassConnect is super easy to use, just find lesson plans and snap them into your lessons…there is no need for downloads!

You can set up ClassConnect to automatically notify your colleagues, students and parents when you make updates.  What’s even handier is that everything is viewable on computers, iPads (woohoo) and smartphones.  This makes it easy to plan and use from everywhere!  The lessons in ClassConnect aren’t only files, they are also interactive websites, games and videos.  Everything in one place.  Gotta love that! When a lesson gets updated, everyone who is shared on the lesson gets updated.

Did I mention it is free?  It is ;)

How to integrate ClassConnect into the classroom: ClassConnect is a no-brainer for introducing to your classroom routine.  Who could argue with an all-in-one organizational tool? ClassConnect makes it SO simple to share resources with colleagues, parents and students.  Think about how this could transform differentiation in your classroom.  Instead of just using the “one-size-fits-all” differentiation that curriculum offers (I hesitate to even call that differentiation…what a joke!), you can create folders of lessons; resources; and learning that perfectly fit the needs of your students.  Because they are so easily shared, you can bring everyone who needs to be on board, on board.  Students can go right to ClassConnect to view what you have stored for them there.  Parents can go to ClassConnect for additional support and ideas for furthering learning at home.
The colleague sharing shouldn’t be overlooked.  Imagine how much richer learning could be if we were sharing our best finds with each other freely and in an easy to access location.  Changing the world here.
***By the way, ClassConnect has a truly AWESOME start up story.  This isn’t just some company. ClassConnect was/is created by a student who wanted school to look different. Be sure to read Eric’s story on the About page.
Tips: For every colleague you invite that signs up, ClassConnect will give you BOTH 500mb more of free storage (you start out with 1GB)!  That is a pretty sweet deal!

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

Changemakers

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Apply, Create, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 12-03-2012

Tags: , , , ,

0

I have to brag a bit on the students and staff at Anastasis.  Last week, we turned school into a mock sweatshop where students learned what it would be like to be child laborers.  The adults were mean.  No bathroom breaks, no drinks, no smiles.  It was a rough day for all of us.  The kids spent the half day of school learning about child labor and then breaking bricks in our sweat shop.  The transformation in their understanding of what 200 million children around the world endure daily was astonishing.  They were able to put into words how helpless they felt. How tired, hungry, sad, angry, frustrated they were.  How mad they were when the result of their hard labor wasn’t enough to feed their family.

Lessons we learned:

  • As a teacher it is HARD to be that “cruel” to your students.  It was hard not to give them a smile of reassurance, a kind word or a pat on the back.  It was hard to be that uncaring.
  • We all learned that many of the brands we purchase every day employ child labor.
  • We learned that poverty is a major contributing factor to child labor.
  • We learned that some of these kids are considered lower than the livestock…they are expendable.
  • We learned that our students are compassionate and care about one another.
  • We learned that we have to be the change we want to see in the world.

As a result of the day, @leadingwlove’s class decided to start a foundation.  They are calling it the LSGW foundation and it is worth checking out!  I am SO proud of these students for going above and beyond just learning and into action.  They aren’t using age as an excuse and they aren’t willing to wait for someone else to fix the problem.  These are 11 and 12 year old students.  Changemakers.

I wrote more about the details of the day here:  From Out of the Dust, Dreams

GreenGeeks offers fantastic- web hosting for drupal websites.

Admissionland.com writers are available 24/7 to assist you with college entrance essays. You can find your personal term paper writer at 123Midterm.com – a professional academic writing service.

Contact the following professional writing service essay.tv to hire academic writers.

Find the wholesale gadgets on- TradeTang

Check custom writing from SmartWritingService online paper writing company.

brautkleid