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Draw a Stickman

What it is:  Draw a Stickman is a delightful site that I learned about from @amandacdykes on her blog Upside Down Education.  On Draw a Stickman, students are prompted to draw a stick figure, the figure they draw springs to life and is faced with several challenges, students must follow directions...

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Moneyville: Economics and money virtual world for elementary students

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Evaluate, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 04-08-2011

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What it is:  Moneyville is a fantastic site I learned about from iLearn Technology reader Tania.  This is an impressive site from the UK that teaches young kids (5-9 years old) about money and economic principles.  Moneyville is a fun interactive environment/virtual world where students can explore where money comes from, what money is worth and how they can prioritize spending and save (perhaps the US government should be playing this game?).  Throughout the game, students are asked to make a number of decisions that can affect their finances for the year.  In Moneyville students can make money by picking apples and selling apple juice, work at the post office to sort packages according to value, work at the city gates where they can earn money by painting, purchase items for their virtual room with the money they have earned, visit with a wizard who can reveal a secret treasure and add items to a wish jar where students can place items they are saving for.  Students will also find a time machine in Moneyville where they can journey to ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, or to the time of the dinosaurs.  The money in Moneyville is generic so it can help students of any country the principles of where money comes from, how to prioritize money, the value of money, and why it is important to save.

How to integrate Moneyville into the classroom: Moneyville is a fun way to help young students understand the basics of money and economics.  The site is a fun way for students to explore economic principles.  It provides a great place to start discussions about what it takes to make money (work), why money is important, why saving is important and how the economic cycle works.  Moneyville would be a great site for students to play on individually in a lab setting at the beginning of a money/economics unit.  Expand the game into other disciplines.  Students can learn about persuasion and advertising by creating advertisements for their businesses in Moneyville using a paint or word processing program.

Don’t have time/resources at school for students to play Moneyville in the classroom? Introduce them to the game using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. This is the type of site that my students begged to be able to continue on at home.  I never made it homework but rarely had a student who didn’t play at home!  If you do have an IWB or projector, create a class Moneyville account.  Let students take turns making decisions in Moneyville and talk as a class about the consequences (and unintended consequences) of those decisions.

Tips: Students create a username and password so that they can play in Moneyville with all of their progress and money saved.

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

Project PLN is Back! Be a part of #projectPLN this year with a post

Posted by admin | Posted in Project PLN | Posted on 03-08-2011

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Project PLN is on it’s way back! @thenerdyteacher and I met on Skype today after our brief summer hiatus to plan the upcoming year of #ProjectPLN.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Project PLN, it is an online magazine that publishes articles from members of our personal learning network from all over the country and world!  Project PLN is totally free to you but the ideas, inspiration and people you will meet as a result…well that is just priceless.  Each month the editors (that is me and @thenerdyteacher) choose a topic for the next issue.  We ask our PLN (that is you) to share their thoughts in the form of an article (or blog post you may have written).  We publish every post we receive as an article and put it in one convenient location where we can then share with the world.  My favorite part of Project PLN: being introduced to new educators and ideas from around the world.

Last year we used Openzine to host our magazine. We had such and incredible response that sometimes we caused some Openzine fails.  This year we are moving the whole operation to WordPress.  You can find the new site for Project PLN at http://projectpln.com.  We are still playing with the layout and formatting so you can ignore the mess while we are tinkering.

And now to announce your part in all of this: we are accepting posts for the September 2011 issue!  Our theme for the September issue is getting started.  We would love to hear from you about how you get started for the school year.  This could be activities you do with your students, staff development, classroom decorations, or even how you pump yourself up for a new year.  There are so many creative ways to get ready for a new year and we want you to share yours with the rest of the PLN!

Here are the bits you will need to know to be included:

Please send the post to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com

Please provide a bio of yourself to be added at the end of the post, this should include where you are in the world, your Twitter ID if you have one, and a link to a blog, website, etc. if you have one.

Please include a picture with your post (it makes them so much more appealing!)

Please send us your submissions by Friday August 26th.

If you have questions you can always send us an email, contact us on Twitter (@ProjectPLN), or find us on Facebook.

 

I cannot WAIT to share what we have cooked up for October-December.  It is going to be fun!

Don’t hog all of the fun to yourself, share with the rest of your PLN.

Kelly and Nick

Editors-Project PLN

Science Toy Maker

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 02-08-2011

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What it is:  Science Toy Maker is a teacher-created website with fantastic instructions and ideas for science toys and projects.  These are mysterious, kinetic, noisy, do-it-yourself science projects that spur scientific investigation.  The science toys and projects are inexpensive (seriously so cheap that anyone can make them!) and don’t require special skills, tools, materials, or work space.  Each toy or project has a “more about” page that includes explanations, historical context, related activities, and high-quality links for more research.  Each toy/project also has a clear step-by-step video directions or text instructions with helpful pictures.  This is a GREAT resource for the classroom, for students interested in science and for parents.

How to integrate Science Toy Maker into the classroom: Science Toy Maker is a fantastic place to visit for fun science projects and inspiration.  These simple toys/projects demonstrate powerful science concepts and can be used as an introduction to a new concept or an illustration of a concept.  They are easy enough to follow for kids to do them independently making this a great stop for a center activity.

Do you have students who just can’t get enough science?  Send them to Science Toy Maker to continue that passion inside and outside of school.  Parents will appreciate the resource to keep their kids learning and students will enjoy the continued exploration and creating.

I love sites like this one, it may not be the most visually appealing site, but the content and ideas behind it are wonderful.  Why not have your students create their own science experiment site?  Throughout the year, students can record science experiments with photos or videos and add information and research they have gathered.  This can be added to a class wiki for reference later in the year and to share with other students.

Tips: The most developed projects and toys are at the top of the site with those that are still a work in progress toward the bottom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Toy Maker  your classroom!

Pinterest: My new obsession

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-08-2011

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What it is:  Pinterest is a new obsession of mine.  I signed up for the invite-only version a while ago but hadn’t done anything with the service since.  In between Reform Symposium sessions I wandered back on to check it out.  Wow. I know there are other tools out there that do what Pinterest do but none that are so immediately user friendly and visually appealing.  I am impressed and addicted.  Pinterest lets you “pin” things from around the web on virtual pin boards.  You can create as many boards as you want and share them with others.  Each time you pin something you can give it a description and tags if you want. Pinterest does the rest and automatically cites the source and provides a trail to get back to the original.  As a teacher I love Pinterest for pinning all of those great ideas I find around the web visually.  I can write a quick reminder to myself about what I was thinking when I pinned it or how I want to use the tool.   SO great!  A lot of times I come across some random craft or picture that spurs an idea for something I want to do for the classroom.  Because it isn’t a tech-tool or related to education it often gets lost.  Pinterest is helping me grab all of those ideas and keep them around so I actually put them to use.  Very nice.

How to integrate Pinterest into the classroom: Pinterest is a great way to organize yourself as a teacher.  Gather up all those ideas you see online and then share them with other teachers (who may or may not be Pinterest users…it really doesn’t matter).

Because you can share Pinterest boards with non-Pinterest users, this is a great way to share things with students.  The resource could be anything- pictures, a website, a video.  Create a board for every unit that you do and share those boards with students so that they can continue exploring and learning.

Students can use Pinterest too, invite young students to help build boards in a class Pinterest account.  Create a board for every letter of the alphabet and let students add pictures that they come across to the letter board that it matches.  Pinterest has a bookmark tool that you can put in your bookmark bar to make this as easy as one click!  Students can put their first name in the description so you (and other students) can keep track of who found what.  Like a year-long web scavenger hunt!

Older students can create their own Pinterest boards.  Pinterest would be a great place for them to collect images that they feel say something about them-an identity board.  These boards can be shared with others and added to all year.  Not only will you get to know your students better, but other students will find connections they didn’t know they had.

Pinterest is a nice visual way for students to share their web findings.  Pinterest even lets students decide if they want to be the only contributor to their board or if they want to open it up for collaboration so others can add their findings to the board.  Way cool.

I have two Pinterest boards that may be of interest to you, one is Classroom Inspiration where I am keeping ideas of things I want to do with students or for our classroom.  The other is School Design where I am collecting inspirational designs that I want to see in our school when we build our own building.

Tips: Right now Pinterest is an invitation only site.  You can sign up to receive an invitation (I received mine in about 10 min) or you can let me know you are interested in an invite and I can get you on the list.  See that? It is worth reading to the bottom of posts- VIP access! Leave a comment if you want an invite and be sure to use a real email address because that is how the invite gets to you.

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

Reform Symposium kickoff, prizes, iPad giveaway-what could be better? #RSCON3

Posted by admin | Posted in Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 28-07-2011

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The countdown is over, tomorrow is the kick off to the Reform Symposium virtual conference!!  The virtual part of that name means that everyone is invited to attend, no matter where you are in the world, what time it is, or what you are wearing.  So, no excuses.

I’m doing one of the Keynotes tomorrow and I hope that some of you will stop by and cheer me on.  I love presenting in Elluminate and I also hate it.

Love:  I can wear my jammies, I can be cuddled up with my pups, I can interact with people from all over the world, no travelling.

Hate: I can’t actually SEE anyone so it is hard to tell if I am boring people to tears.  You can let me know I’m not by chatting and emoticoning during my Keynote.

As if the incredible line up of presenters and Keynotes wasn’t enough, we have prizes.  Check out this prize page for the lineup.  Even better? There is a Grand Prize.  It is GRAND. How would you like to win yourself an iPad 2 including a bunch of fabulous edu apps (including an app from yours truly)?  You would?  I thought so.  :)

I’m not quite finished with the great news…even if you don’t win that outstanding prize, you can be a part of creating an iPhone and iPad app by filling out a survey (this also happens to be the way you register for the prize).  The Reform Symposium is a worldwide community of educators who believe in the mission of authentic 21st century learning, and the exchange of ideas and resources. By filling out a 5 minute survey with your thoughts of teaching creativity, innovation, collaboration, empathy, citizenship, digital literacies and student assessment, we aim to publish your thoughts within a FREE Reform Symposium iPhone and iPad app and accompanying mini-site late August/early September. This survey will be available at the start of the Symposium and closes at the end of the last session on the 3rd day. (So please don’t start looking for the survey to fill out just yet.)

The fun starts tomorrow, join us for any or all of the days.

The app donated by me was actually an app that my brilliant husband @jtenkely created.  A digital version of pick up sticks…I’m only a little addicted. You can check it out in the app store here.  There is also a Classic version of Pickin’ Stix without all the fancy stick choices.

 

 

Ideas to Inspire

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Grade Level, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 27-07-2011

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What it is:  Ideas to Inspire has been a favorite of mine for years, it recently got a design boost that makes it even more useable!  Ideas to Inspire comes to us from @markw29, Mark invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.  Inspiring ideas include: Amazing art, A to Z of ITC, audio, books to engage boys, ideas for classroom blogging, games to enhance learning, creative geography, geography gaming, get to know your new class, GIS and GPS, Google forms, Google maps, Google search, ICT control and modelling, ICT in the early years, interesting images to use in the classroom, incredible science, inspiring writing, interactive math, Internet safety, iPad, iPod Touch, learning platforms, making your lessons ESL/EAL friendly, mobile phones, Moodle, netbooks, Nintendo DS and DSi, Non-tech strategies, ways to present Internet research, Prezi, Primary Pad, Purple Mash, QR Codes, student voice, super science investigations, super snow day activities, supporting math, supporting spelling, techy tips for non techy teachers, things to do with digital images, Twitter, using backchannels in the classroom, using video conferencing to support the use of quality texts, Wallwisher, webcams, web conferencing, Wii, wikis, Wordle, document cameras, supporting writing, search engines, marvelous music, interactive whiteboards, Google docs, ICT shopping list, creative curriculum topics, pocket video cameras, teaching reading comprehension, Voicethread, YouTube and (if you can believe it) more!

The new filter let’s you filter by curriculum linked presentations or interesting ways to use: hardware, software or online tools in the classroom.

This great resource is not to be missed!

How to integrate Ideas to Inspire into the classroom: Sometimes we could all use a little inspiration.  Ideas to Inspire is just the place to stop for some guaranteed inspiration! I love that the ideas shared on Ideas to Inspire are collected from classrooms and teachers around the world.  That tool you have been using forever in your classroom? Someone, somewhere has thought up a great new innovative way to use it in your classroom for learning!  Does not get better than that!

For those of you who are enjoying the last few weeks (gulp) of summer, be sure to stop by Ideas to Inspire while you have some time to be inspired and make plans for the upcoming school year.

Tips: Fair warning: this website will suck you right in and make you want to spend hours exploring. :)

 

Visual.ly- Infographics Galore!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 25-07-2011

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What it is:  I am a geek for infographics. I love the way they convey ideas so clearly (especially for visual learners like me!).  Visual.ly is infographic geek heaven.  At Visual.ly you can search all the best infographics from the web in one convenient place.  Do you (or  your students) have infographics to share? Upload your infographics to Visual.ly and share them with others.  Visual.ly even has a lab where you can create your own infographics!  Way cool!  Right now the create feature is limited to a Twitter infographic.

How to integrate Visual.ly into the classroom: Visual.ly is a great place to find infographics on any subject.  Search infographics by subject or keyword.  Use infographics to introduce new concepts, to begin a research project (is the infographic accurate?) or for review.  Infographics are brilliant in the way that they help communicate complex ideas in a clear, compact and visually appealing way.

Visual.ly can help students better understand infographics so they can create their own.  Right now Visual.ly only has the option for creating a Twitter related infographic (see mine below).  This is great if your class has a Twitter account, students can see what their connections online look like (of course just part of the story!).  You don’t have to wait on Visual.ly to finish their creation tool, use Excel, Numbers, Pages, PowerPoint, Keynote, etc. to create your own infographics!  Any time data is involved (science, math, geography, economics, history, government) students can create an infographic to visualize the learning.  It would be fun to create a class infographic bulletin board for the first weeks of school.  Collect data about students and use picture, shapes, etc. to create a customized infographic.   If you do this, come back and share pictures!!

Tips: Because infographics are user-created, some may not be appropriate for all classrooms.  If your students are going to spend time on Visual.ly, make sure you preview first!

**By the way, Visual.ly if you are listening, it would be AWESOME if you had an education version!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Visual.ly in  your classroom!

#RSCON3 How a blog post and Twitter conversation started a school

Posted by admin | Posted in Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 22-07-2011

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Today is Friday! The day elicits joy in and of itself but this Friday is a particularly exciting Friday because it means that we are exactly one week away from the Reform Symposium virtual conference!!  I’m excited for the learning and sharing in store for all of us next week.  If you aren’t familiar with the Reform Symposium check out my last post HERE or search the #RSCON3 hashtag on Twitter for all the latest buzz.

In the past I have only done the behind the scenes work as an organizer of the conference.  This year we had a last-minute shift in our Keynote presentations leaving one slot open.  I was honored when @ShellTerrell suggested that I take the spot and talk about the school I am starting.  I’m excited to share the journey with all of you and better get my tush in gear if I have any hope of being ready for that.  :)

I hope you will join me for my Keynote next Friday, July, 29 at 4:00pm MST (if you want to translate that into a different timezone you can choose that here.)  I’m looking forward to sharing Anastasis Academy with my PLN who played such a LARGE part in making it what it is.

I’m only a small part of this 3 day FREE conference, take a look at the presenter page and you will quickly understand why I was so honored to be asked to be a part of that group-greatness!

See you there!

 

One more thing- if you are interested in lending a helping hand during the conference, we are still in need of some moderators!  You can learn more about what is involved in moderating here.

Brown Sharpie: Mathematical Cartoons Inspired by Sharpie Fumes

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Blogs, Create, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 21-07-2011

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What it is: Math geeks, eat your heart out…Brown Sharpie is for you!  I found Brown Sharpie by accident today as I was perusing the app store in iTunes.  Brown Sharpie is a collection of “mathematical cartoons inspired by sharpie fumes” drawn by Courtney Gibbons.  Gibbons is an aspiring mathematician and the cartoons were created as she completed her undergraduate and graduate degree.  Many of the cartoons reference higher math and may be too complex to use in the k-8 classroom.  There are a few here and there that could be used with younger students with a little explanation.  High school, college math students and math geeks are the main demographic for these cartoons. The cartoons are shared blog-style so you can search through them using the “next” and “previous” buttons or you can view by tags using the “view by…” word cloud in the right side bar.

             

How to integrate Brown Sharpie into the classroom: The Brown Sharpie cartoons would be a fun start to math class.  Put a cartoon up on a projector-connected computer each day for a little math humor to kick off class.  The cartoons will give you the opportunity to discuss current math topics as well as give an introduction to math concepts not yet touched on.

Why not hold your own Brown Sharpie day?  Give each student a brown fine-tipped sharpie to create their own math cartoons?  These can be shared on a class blog, website or wiki.  This will help your visual learners and artists think about math in a whole new way!  Students of any age can create a Brown Sharpie cartoon of their own!

In addition to the blog, Brown Sharpie is also a free app in the iTunes app store.

Tips: Some of the cartoons are PG-13 with alcohol or relationship references.  Best to preview the cartoon before displaying before your class. :)

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

PBS Learning Media 14,000+ k-12 resources!

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 20-07-2011

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What it is: PBS Learning Media is a fabulous collection of 14,000+ resources that are separated by subject area.  The collection reminds me a lot of the popular Discovery Streaming with one big difference- the resources on PBS Learning Media are free to use!  Resources can be searched by grade level, media type (document, image, interactive or video), language (English, French, Spanish) and accessibility (caption, full mouse control, display, transcript).  Resources include great descriptions of the resource, the grade level appropriateness and the ability to add the resource to your favorites.  PBS Learning Media is a great stop for high quality resources that will meet the learning needs of your students.  Many of the resources have associated support materials for both students and teachers.

How to integrate PBS Learning Media into the classroom: The resources in PBS Learning Media are wonderful for all grade levels.  The site is easy to search and “favorite” so that the resources you need for your classroom are always at your finger tips.  PBS Learning Media is a great place to find videos that enrich learning in the classroom, can be used for anticipatory sets to introduce a concept or to illustrate a difficult concept.  The interactive resources are the high-quality games you find on the PBS and PBS Kids websites.  Some of the games are appropriate for an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer and played with the whole class, while others work well in a computer lab or computer center activity.

PBS Learning Media would make a good media center on classroom computers for students to explore areas of interest in learning, research and make connections in learning.

Tips: If you don’t already have a PBS account, register for a free account to gain access to more than 5 resources at a time. :)

Please leave a comment and share how you are using PBS Learning Media  your classroom!

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