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Webspiration Wednesday: Sleedo

Today, I am doing something a little different for Webspiration Wednesday.  As a staff, we still gathered for Webspiration Wednesday finishing the Guy Doud video from last week.  Since I have already summed that up in this post, I thought I would write about a webspirational website instead.  Sleedo...

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8 alternatives to Google Reader

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, For Teachers, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 12-06-2013

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8 alternatives to Google Reader

I’ve been in mourning over Google’s decision to shut down Reader.  MOURNING.  Honestly, I love having a centralized location for all of my favorite blogs.  It is like my own customized newspaper delivered each morning.  I’ve been using Google Reader since about 2007, and in that time I’ve amassed an enormous collection of favorites.  Whenever I find something I want to remember or be able to go back and read, I Tweet it out and then immediately favorite it.  I can’t tell you how often I go to my Reader when I’m remembering something great that I favorited that I want to revisit or share.  Daily.

Google Reader is closing the door on July 1st.  I’ve been trying to pretend that this day isn’t coming.  Denial won’t stop it.  Today I decided to settle in and start going through my favorites to save them to my Pinterest boards.  I’ve found some great alternatives for Google Reader, but I have yet to find one that transfers both current RSS feeds and favorites.  I talked to Feedly on Twitter and they said that they are working on it.  I haven’t seen this feature added yet.  Not willing to lose all of those favorites, I’m going through the painstaking process of saving them elsewhere.  On the upside: I’m being reminded of the brilliance I’m surrounded by online.

If you are looking for a replacement RSS feed reader (say for your favorite blog…*ahem*) here are some great alternatives.

1. The Old Reader is in beta, it was built to be a replacement for Google Reader.  It looks a whole lot like the Google Reader you know and love.  For those super geeks (own it!) you can even use the same keyboard shortcuts.  This option is free but is currently browser-based only…no mobile apps yet.  Alas, that is where I do the majority of my reading.

2. Feedly is a good RSS reader alternative.  In addition to collecting your RSS feeds for you, it has a news suggestion algorithm that will suggest other articles that you will probably find interesting.  Great unless you have a reader like I do…then it becomes an endless rabbit hole that is hard to walk away from.  Feedly also has a great social aspect that makes it easy to share with friends and post to social networks.  With Feedly you can choose what type of layout you prefer. You can easily transfer all of your current subscriptions from Google Reader to Feedly.  Feedly comes as browser extension and mobile app.

3.  News Blur is similar to Google Reader, you can share articles, save for future reading, star them or start your own daily “burblog” of news stories that you want to share with others.  It comes in mobile app format.  Now the bad news: free accounts are capped at 64 blogs and 10 stories at a time (this would never do for me). Premium users pay $24 a year to subscribe to as many sites as they want.  The worse news: currently they aren’t allowing free users to sign up.  Dang. It.

4. Pulse lets you keep up on the blogs that you subscribe to, but it primarily recommends stories it thinks you will enjoy.  Pulse looks a little more like Feedly and will also let you import your Google Reader feed (mobile version only).  Articles can be saved, shared, browsed, sorted by category.

5. NetVibes is a RSS reader and a social aggregation service.  Basic accounts are free which will do what you need to follow your feeds.  You can add widgets like weather, Twitter, and top news stories to your NetVibe dashboard.  The bad news: there aren’t any mobile apps.

6. Feed Demon is not only an RSS reader, it also lets you set up keywords to be alerted about.  If a keyword appears in a feed (whether you subscribe to it or not) it will apear in your feed.  It also lets you subscribe to podcasts, it automatically stores them in a directory and makes it easy to save them to a mobile device.

7. Flipboard recommends feeds but also lets you subscribe to RSS feeds.  The layout is beautiful and looks like a magazine.  You can also add your social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It brings your online life together in one place.  Favorites can be saved. Flipboard is available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook.

8. Feedbin makes it easy to subscribe to new feeds by domain or by feed url. You can import your current feeds using the OPML import feature.  You can organize all of your feeds by Tags. Just like Google Reader, Feedbin has great keyboard shortcuts that will help you get through your news efficiently.  Feedbin is not free, it currently costs $2/month.  The biggest benefit (and the reason this will most likely be my choice) you can connect Feedbin to the Reeder app!!  I currently use the Reeder app to read my Google Reader feeds.  I absolutely LOVE Reeder, It is such a beautiful way to read, save, share, etc. all of my RSS feeds.  Reeder is still working out a solution for July 1st.  In the mean time, it is available for free in the iTunes app store and you can connect it to Feedbin.  Reeder is working out the ability to connect it to other readers as well.

RSS feeds are a great way to bring professional development to your fingertips ever day.  Don’t let the demise of Google Reader stop you from learning!

Media 4 Math: Math in the News

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 10-12-2012

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What it is: Media 4 Math: Math in the News helps students view current events through the “prism of mathematics.”  Every week features a new story that makes headlines and the underlying mathematical story gets extracted.  The Math in the News site is a little bit confusing to navigate at first (it isn’t really clear where to find each issue of Math in the News).  Scroll down to see an archive of stories.  Each entry has a Slideshare version of the presentation, a YouTube version or the Math in the News app version.  These presentations are full lessons with embedded background knowledge articles and videos, data  sets, current event explanations and a walk through of how to solve.

In addition to Math in the News, Media 4 Math also has Math Tutorials, Promethean Flipcharts, Powerpoint slideshows, Math Labs, Print Resources, a Video Gallery, Math Solvers and more.  I really like the Math Solvers, students can choose a problem type, input their own data and see a breakdown of how to solve the problem.  The Math Labs include PDF worksheets and YouTube Videos that lead them through real-math problem sets.

How to integrate Media 4 Math: Math in the News into the classroom: Media 4 Math: Math in the News is a fantastic way to help your students make the connection between the upper-level math they are learning and life. I’m fairly certain that every math teacher in history has heard “what are we ever going to use this for?”  This site helps students not only see that math is everywhere, but also walks them through how to think mathematically.  There are plenty of resources that walk students through common mathematical functions.  This site is a great supplement to any math curriculum!

With new content weekly, your curriculum will be fresh and relevant!  Share Math in the News using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, as a math center on classroom computers, individually with laptops or iPads, etc.   Flip your math class and have students explore a Math Tutorial to prepare them for the next day of learning.  Then they can test a few scenarios in Math Solvers and come up with their own explanation of the concept.  In class, students can work with you to solidify and practice the learning.

Tips: Sign up for the free weekly newsletter to have Math in the News delivered right to your inbox.  Do you have a classroom iPad?  Math in the News now has an app!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Math in the News in your classroom.

What’s Your News?

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, collaboration, Fun & Games, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 13-04-2010

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What it is: What’s Your News is an online newsroom staffed by ants.  Complete with anchormen and a studio, What’s Your News is a “news show” aimed at 4-7 year old students that introduces them to the wider world.  The news covered is kids news, and it comes right from their homes (or classrooms).  News stories could be anything from the arrival of a new pet, to a lost tooth, or being able to play a new tune on the piano.  Students can submit their own Breaking News with the help of a teacher or a parent.  There are fun games to play that teach students about how news gets reported.  Learn about all of the characters by visiting them backstage.  Watch fun clips from the What’s Your News Nick Jr. TV show.  Print some fun activities including a make your own newspaper, build a What’s Your News studio, or download a special reporter pack that helps your students become roving reporters.  

How to integrate What’s Your News into the classroom: This site is just so cute, you can’t help but fall in love with it (and the characters).  What’s Your News is perfect for a communities/neighbors unit.  Students will learn about what is happening from news reports created by other kids.  I love the way this site involves kids in sharing news.  It would be fun to share classroom news on What’s Your News each week.  Download the special reporter pack for your students and have them put on their own weekly news show for your classroom.  Introduce your students to the wider world through this kid-friendly news show.

Tips: Before you post student pictures online, please make sure that you have school and parent permission to do so.  If you can’t post students pictures online, consider taking pictures and reporting on special class projects, a class pet, or a science experiment.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using What’s Your News in your classroom.

Newseum

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 13-05-2009

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What it is:  Newseum is a neat way for students to see the news from around the country.  Front pages of newspapers from around the US are displayed on a map.  Scroll over the map and the front page of the newspaper pops up.  Click on a different country to display newspapers from around the world.

How to integrate Newseum into the classroom:  Newseum is a great site to visit for current events.  This is a great way to find out what is happening state to state or around the world that is news worthy.  Have students compare and contrast front page events around the country or around the world.  Is there a particularly news worthy subject that seems to pop up in multiple states, multiple countries?   Newseum could be a great discussion starter about newspapers, should they be saved or will they eventually be totally replaced by the Internet?  Use Newseum each morning to get an update of current events using an interactive whiteboard.   Have students choose 3 or 4 states or countries each day to check on (also great geography  practice).  This site is like a virtual field trip around the world for newspapers.  

 

Tips:  Because these are actual front pages from around the country, some material may not be appropriate fo your students.  Always preview before you let your students loose! 

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Newseum in your classroom.

The Week in Rap

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Websites | Posted on 16-12-2008

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What it is:  I remember being forced to pay attention to current events when I was in high school for class assignments.  I know that my teachers were trying to get me to pay attention to what was happening in the world; but, to be perfectly honest, I hated watching an hour of news.  My mind would wander and local news left a lot to be desired (why did I care about the dog who dialed 911 for its owner?).  The Week in Rap brings students current events on their level in a fun and entertaining way.  Every Friday a weeks worth of news is posted in video form.  The entertaining piece comes in the way that the recap of the weeks headlines is presented, in the form of a rap.  The videos will hold your students attention while they keep up to date with what is happening in the world.  The lyrics for each rap are posted below the video.  This free website was created by Flocabulary which makes rap videos about a number of subjects.

 

How to integrate The Week in Rap into the classroom:   The Week in Rap is a good way for your students to get involved with current events.  Use the videos as a launching point for further discussion, a beginning point for research, or have students write a blog post in response to the video.  Students can read more about each story mentioned in the weeks rap by clicking on the link for the news story in the lyrics.  The few that I clicked on brought me to PBS.  

 

Tips:  Since current events are posted every Friday, this site might make a good end of the week fun activity.  

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using The Week in Rap in your classroom.

iCue

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, Geography, History, Middle/High School, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 06-05-2008

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What it is: iCue is NBC’s newest venture into the realm of education. The sites aim is to create a collaborative 2.0 learning community that “incorporates gaming, discussion, and video resources in a safe, student-friendly online environment.” This is an excellent resource for getting your students interested in the world they live in through relevant news, videos, and a place to discuss them. The iCue video player is very robust and has the ability to take notes, leave comments, and create links for the video. The “Cue cards” can be saved in a student area for future reference. This site is a truly inventive way to teach with current events!

How to integrate iCue into the classroom: iCue is a great way to keep your students interested and engaged with current events. The site will be excellent to use on a daily basis during this election year. Students can watch videos, start discussions and debates based on current events. This site has great potential for really making students use critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. The related games are entertaining and will help reinforce what students are learning.

Tips: This site will eat up bandwidth. Make sure that your network can handle it before assigning the whole class to be on iCue at once! Learn more about what NBC is offering for the classroom at www.hotchalk.com.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using iCue in your classroom.

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Another Geni Post

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Social Studies, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 28-02-2008

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I wrote about Geni, a genealogy recording website, a while back. Geni asked me to write a post for them describing my experience with Geni. Here it is:

Genealogy can be a dry subject for students, the old paper and pencil method of genealogy projects didn’t engage my students or their families to participate further than the obligatory family tree poster. Families were not involved and students were disinterested. Enter Geni.com.

Geni excited my students and their parents to collaborate and learn more about their family. Students loved creating their family tree on the website and were eager to learn more about their families. They were excited to come into class to see if any other family members had updated the Geni site with new family information.

Students often were surprised at what they learned about family members. One student learned that his grandfather had played minor league baseball. He hadn’t known this before the Geni genealogy project. The student loved baseball himself and now has a deeper connection with his grandfather over their shared love of the sport. Another student told me that his grandparents had never used the Internet before, but after seeing what their grandchild was doing on Geni were enthusiastic to learn. That student taught his grandparents how to get onto Geni.com, login, and add content.

Parents were enthusiastic about using Geni; they were able to involve extended family in their child’s learning experiences. Geni brought families closer together through a classroom project. Students learned about their family and created a family tree that can be saved and added to by other family members. The collaboration that Geni brought to the genealogy project was priceless. The project reaches far beyond the walls of my classroom. Families connected in new and meaningful ways. Family genealogy was recorded for future generations. Students began to show real pride in their families history and really understood why genealogy is important. I don’t believe these kinds of results can be achieved with the old family tree poster. The project doesn’t end in my classroom. Students tell me that their families have continued to add to their Geni sites even though the project deadline is past and grades have been given.

There is always extra work for the teacher involved in a collaborative project like this one. Instead of just assigning the project and grading what came in I had to plan family collaborations, get permission slips signed, keep track of logins, and make sure I had access to technology when I needed it. The students and families are reaping the benefits of the extra work. Instead of creating a poster that is soon forgotten, students have made important family connections, they have truly gotten the opportunity to learn about their families and have a lasting product that they can continue to add to. I still hear positive comments about the project and younger siblings are already asking if they can do the “Geni project” when they get to 5th grade.

Geni can help you implement similar projects in your classroom. Email schools@geni.com for more information. To see the original of this post go to www.blog.geni.com.

We made the front page!

Posted by admin | Posted in General | Posted on 01-02-2008

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01/31/2008
Students work to end world hunger
Holly Cook , Staff Writer

Ann Foster | afoster@ccnewspapers.com

Cherry Hills Christian School third-grader Joshua Parchen looks at his computer while working on FreeRice.com, a program that donates grains of rice for every correct vocabulary question answer. Parchen is one of his class’ highest scorers.

What if just knowing what 10 vocabulary words meant could help stop world hunger? Well, at FreeRice.com it does and students at Cherry Hills Christian School in Highlands Ranch know enough vocabulary words to send 1.3 million grains of rice to people in need.

Before Thanksgiving, technology teacher Kelly Tenkely introduced FreeRice to her elementary students to remind them about how much they had to be thankful for, and to do something to help others.

FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site, Poverty.com. FreeRice provides a free vocabulary game that accumulates grains of rice, paid for by supporting advertisers, for every correct answer. The donated rice is shipped to the United Nations World Food Program and distributed internationally to impoverished countries.

The results are two-fold. Students increase their English vocabulary while donating effortlessly to world hunger.

“I don’t even think they really connect that they’re learning vocabulary,” Tenkely said.

FreeRice has become such a hot item in Tenkely’s class that students are playing in their free time when school work is finished. Third-graders Joshua Parchen, 8, and Luke Mason, 9, are what Tenkely calls her “FreeRice rockstars.” Both boys have taken up playing at home and have donated more than 77,000 grains of rice individually.

“We try to get homework done in our carpool so we can play when we get home,” Mason said.

“It’s addicting and really fun,” Parchen said.

Aside from just playing the game, Tenkely’s students are taking it upon themselves to develop commercials to motivate others to play FreeRice and to raise awareness about world hunger. To reach technology class curricular goals, students are using GarageBand and Keynote computer software to make their commercials. GarageBand helps students create background music and Keynote is similar PowerPoint software.

“The goal of the commercials is to teach our kids how to use Keynote and GarageBand but also to teach them about poverty and hunger. We are creating the commercials to tell others about the subject and to tell them about one way that we can help out with FreeRice.”

Mollie Gardner, 9, wants her commercial to show people how hungry others are and how thankful they are to receive food. Petra Sikovkski’s commercial says the same thing.

Tenkely wants to place the finished products on other Web sites like TeacherTube and SchoolTube.

“My goal is to let FreeRice know about them, although I’m not sure if they will add them to their site or not,” Tenkely said.

See the full article here Colorado Community Newspaper

In the News…

Posted by admin | Posted in General | Posted on 28-01-2008

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My classroom was in the news for a project we are working on with Free Rice.  Take a look:

Cyber-savvy students fighting world hunger

CHC Elementary Technology teacher, Kelly Tenkely guides students in both learning computer and helping those in need through FreeRice.com.

CHC Elementary Technology teacher, Kelly Tenkely guides students in both learning computer and helping those in need through FreeRice.com.

Provided by: Leza Shupe


Contributed by: Leza Shupe on 1/15/2008

January 14, 2008
Highlands Ranch, CO

Combining knowledge of world hunger and a desire to help others are combined with technology, vocabulary and math! That is how elementary students at Cherry Hills Christian challenge themselves every day in computer class with “FreeRice.com.” As soon as students are finished with their daily assignment, technology teacher, Kelly Tenkely, allows them to visit Free Rice and play the vocabulary quiz game. With each word definition they guess correctly, 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Program to help fight world hunger.

At the end of class, every student records the number of grains of rice they donated that day. Since Thanksgiving, the 305 students in second through fifth grades have donated over 1,197,870 grains of rice. That number continues to grow daily. To help visualize what this much rice looks like, fourth-grader Allie Chambers measured the grains of rice in a tablespoon and did the math to discover there are approximately 7,200 grains of rice in a cup. That means CHC students have made it possible for those in need to cook almost 166 cups of rice creating almost 500 individual servings.

To further their exposure to technology and world hunger, the fourth grade classes are just beginning a new project-to create commercials for FreeRice.com using Keynote and Garage Band application. “When we are finished with the commercials my goal is to let Free Rice know about them, although I’m not sure if they will add them to their site or not,” says Mrs. Tenkely. “The goal of the commercials is to teach our kids how to use Keynote and Garage Band but also to teach them about poverty and hunger. We are creating the commercials to tell others about the subject and to tell them about one way that we can help out with Free Rice.”

Cherry Hills Christian Principal, Linda Wasem, loves to see students learning a variety of life lessons through daily visits to a website. “Our students are not only learning vocabulary-some of those words are really hard, but they are also learning about people in the world who don’t have enough to eat. Their hearts are moved to give.”

For more details about the FreeRice.com vocabulary game, visit FreeRice.com.
Find the whole article here. 

imbee update

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Character Education | Posted on 20-12-2007

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Imbee.com was featured on Fox 31 news Denver today as a kid friendly alternative to My Space. See the full story here: Fox 31 News. It is nice to see that Imbee is gaining popularity, it is a great way to teach kids about social networking and netiquette just to name a few. To learn more about imbee visit my imbee post from August 15th.