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UPM Forest Life

What it is: UPM Forest Life is an excellent interactive site that lets students explore a forest virtually.  This is the next best thing to actually being in a forest, I can almost smell the pine trees!  UPM Forest Life aims to teach about forest sustainability through an outstanding ‘hike’...

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Snap! Digital Reading Program: 128 leveled readers

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 08-08-2013

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Snap! Digital Reader Library iLearn Technology

What it is: Snap! Digital Reading Program is a set of interactive leveled books that can be printed, viewed on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, interactive whiteboards or classroom computer.  All of the books in the program have been developed to help teachers meet requirements in the Common Core Standards in vocabulary and comprehension through the use of direct instruction, close reading, modeling, guided and independent practice, and text-dependent questioning.  Each leveled reader has a digital interactive version that includes fluency exercises, comprehension and multiple-choice type assessments.  As your students read, you can track what they are reading, view the digital assessments and performance reports.  These reports include information about CLOZE scores, multiple choice scores, and fluency.  You can also see information about the  last book they read (word counts, difficulty, words read correctly, etc.).  Snap! Digital Reading Program also includes lesson plans associated with each book.  While the program isn’t a free one, a year-long subscription to all materials (interactive ebooks for student, printable PDF versions of the books/lessons/other materials, and the data analytics for all of your students is just $89.  Pretty reasonable for access for every student in your class!

How to use the Snap! Digital Reading Program in your classroom: I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating: when you have a limited classroom library (due to space, as a new teacher, budget, etc.) ebooks are such a great way to instantly expand that library exponentially!  Snap! helps you do that and more.  Not only are you able to offer your students additional access to reading material, they have the added benefit of getting interactive books that give you data so that you can better guide students in choosing books that will help them fall in love with reading.  The readers can also be used for reading interventions, guided reading, shared reading and tutoring.  The leveled readers are for students in grades k-8, so even if you have a super advanced second grade student, you can continually challenge them.

Snap! Digital Reader Library iLearn Technology

The flexibility of this program is fantastic!  I’ve long been a fan of Learning A-Z for their printable books, but they are limited to a printout.  With Snap! you have the option of printing out books, but students can also access them from home device, on the iPad, Kindle Fire, Android, interactive whiteboard, or classroom computers.  The eBook version of the reader includes audio, photo slideshows, glossary terms, videos, fun facts, interactive maps and animations.  The PDF version includes lesson plans, alphabet book, word books, assessment materials and individual student record books.  Regardless of how much technology you have available in your classroom, the Snap! program works.

In a one to one setting you get the best of all worlds.  Every student in your class instantly has access to 128 quality interactive books and activities.  Did I mention $89?! That is a great deal!  You also have the ability for offline pdf books that can be sent home for extra practice.  When I taught second grade, my students loved having a print copy of the ebooks that they read in class.  It was always a treat to have those printed to color and share at home.

In a one or two device classroom, you can set up a reading center for students to cycle through.  Students can visit the center once or twice a week to read.

Model reading strategies for the whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Students can practice reading along and be introduced to new vocabulary.

Tips: The iPad version is not called “Snap!” Digital Reader.  The app you will download to access the interactive ebook library is Mobl21 HD.

Snap! Digital Reader Library iLearn TechnologyPrice of app: Free* ($89 yearly subscription required!)

Device: iPad with iOS 5.0 or later, Kindle Fire, Android, computer

Adobe Forms Center: Create & Share Interactive Forms

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Character Education, Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Inquiry, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 11-07-2013

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What it is: Sometimes I come across a useful site and think, “how in the world is it possible that I haven’t discovered this before?”  That happened today with Adobe Form Central.  This free web application lets you create pdf’s that are actually web forms that can be filled out directly on the pdf.  Fancy.  Forms Central has a huge bank of templates that you can start with including a section just for education.  These are mostly application, appointment, quiz type forms.  But the best…the ability to create your own custom pdf form! Design items include text fields, date fields, email fields, single choice, multiple choice, drop down menu, single check box, rating scale, file attachments, formatted text, images, and page or section breaks.  When you have finished with the form you can set the form up to automatically email recipients, redirect them to a new url, or include a confirmation message.  You can even collect payments through PayPal (I’ll tell you why I find that feature useful!).  When you are ready to distribute your form you can email the link, embed the form or share on Twitter.  From within form central, you can view responses and save to Excel or as a PDF.  You can even sort responses from within Forms Central.

How to integrate Form Central into the classroom:  The obvious (and boring) use of Forms Central for education is for creating quizzes and tests.  Pass.  I’m not interested in using it that way so the custom feature is where I head.  Form Central is a great place for you to create a guided inquiry form where students can view the current inquiry question and fill in their own lines of inquiry and thoughts as they begin into a new unit.  Answers are collected in one place so that you can go through with your class and discuss options.  This could be a great twist on the ideation step in design thinking!

Forms Central could be used to create customized rubrics that you and your students can fill in.  Again, the great feature here is that everything is collected in one spot!  Students can create and use forms to collect scientific or mathematical data that can be analyzed and evaluated later.

Students can create their own custom surveys for collaborative projects and easily distribute their forms and collect answers.  Our students created their own not-for-profit (LSGW Foundation), because they occasionally host fundraisers, Forms Central would be really useful for collecting information and donations online.  The ability to connect the form to a PayPal account where they can collect donations is fantastic!

The PayPal function could also be used by you at the beginning of the school year.  If you’re like us, you have parents fill out loads of Q&A’s at back to school night so that you can get to know the family and child better.  You could include a short wish-list of items that you would like for your classroom.  Parents could choose to donate monetarily to your classroom fund through your forms.  Forms Central also gives them an easy one-stop place to quickly fill out all of the information online.

Do you host an after school club or tutoring?  Use Forms Central to create your application/enrollment form and collect payment at once.

Have your students evaluate your class using a course evaluation (template), collect feedback from colleagues at a conference where you hosted a session, collect interest for a new offering in your classroom, create a risk assessment sheet…the sky is the limit for what you can create.

One of my favorite things about the start of the school year at Anastasis Academy is the Learning Profile that we create for each of our students.  We survey students to learn about their multiple intelligence strengths, brain dominance, learning style preferences, and interests and passions.  Forms Central would be a really great way to collect all of this information (at least until the Learning Genome is finished!).

Tips:  You may be wondering…why not just use Google forms?  I love Google forms, I really do.  But Forms Central gives options that Google does not.  Those options are appealing to me on a number of levels!  The bank of templates they have to start from is also super helpful when time is an issue.

Are you using Forms Central in your classroom?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Math Class Needs a Makeover: videos, inquiry, math stories and more

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Create, Download, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Math, professional development, Teacher Resources, TED Talk Tuesdays, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 18-06-2013

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What it is:  I’ve had the great fortune of time to go through my Google Reader favorites this week as I prepare for the shutdown (still bitter about that!).  The unexpected benefit I’ve had from Google Reader’s demise? The forced opportunity to go back through and be reminded of some of the truly amazing people and resources in education.  Dan Meyer is one of my all time favorite math geniuses.  He reminds us that math is more than computation, it is a frame of mind and an outlook on the world.  If your math program isn’t that…it is time to change!  As I went back through the resources of Dan’s that I had tagged, I re-watched his TEDx Talk: Math Class Needs a Makeover.  If you haven’t seen this TED Talk, or haven’t watched it in a while…now is the time.  I’ve embedded the talk above for your viewing pleasure…you don’t even have to go anywhere!  If you have watched it recently, be a friend and share it with someone else.

Dan also has some other really useful mathspiration.  His blog, dy/dan, is a source of math prompts and discussions that will have you thinking beyond computation. 101Questions is a project that encourages students to think about math through photo prompts and inquiry.  Graphing Stories is STINKING fantastic, Dan offers a printout for your students, they can then watch any video and graph the story.  AWESOME describes this resource. Three Act Math is a curricula that Dan developed, click on the links within the doc to get to the resources.  Again…AWESOME. Geometry curricula offers you Dan’s handouts, pdfs, powerpoint and keynote presentations.  Algebra curricula offers the same.

THANK YOU Dan for sharing your passion for mathematics, your inspiration for those of us who aren’t as naturally inclined to geek out about math, and for your openness of resources.

How to integrate Dan Meyer’s awesomeness into the classroom:  Dan makes it really easy for you to integrate his methods into your classroom.  Everything you need from inspiration, to mathematical story sets, to curricula materials is available.  If you teach math, the obvious place to start is with the type of math that you teach.  Dan’s resources are mostly intended for high school students use.  However, as I looked through his resources again, I think they could be appropriate for students in elementary school as well.

101Questions is a great way to have your kids enter an inquiry mindset as they approach math.  These are photos that ask your students what the first thing that comes to mind is.  Students can type in their answer and get a new prompt.  These would be a great way to start your class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Have your class inquire and come up with questions together.  Students can also do this as an independent activity and then share their questions with other students.

Graphing Stories speaks for itself.  Again, it is geared toward secondary students, but I think that given enough support, primary students would really enjoy engaging math this way too.  (Sometimes we don’t give students enough credit for where an interest can take their thinking.  Case in point: Anastasis 2nd and 3rd graders who know Fibonacci inside and out. Normally you wouldn’t see the concept until high school or later.)

The Three Act Math is also a favorite of mine.  Use Dan’s three acts, or use his as inspiration for creating your own!

Dan’s resources hit on every level of Bloom’s Taxonomy…that alone is good reason to stop reading this and go on your own exploration!

Tips: Dan is great to follow on Twitter...a constant stream of 140 character mathspiration!

How are you using Dan Meyer’s Awesome in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

Presefy: Go mobile with your presentations and give everyone a front row seat

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, collaboration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-04-2013

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What it is: Presefy is a new tool that lets you present with your mobile device wirelessly.  The best part: those attending the presentation can view your presentations from their own web browsers (on a mobile device or a computer), and follow along using your unique “channel.”  Upload pdf or ppt(x) files, at the moment those are the two supported file types.

How to integrate Presefy into the classroom: Presefy would obviously be wonderful to use when you are presenting at a conference or to a large group, but I also love the implications in the classroom and school setting.  Have you ever been sitting in a conference or a session where your vantage point stinks?  You go right ahead and check out because you can’t see what the speaker is referring to anyway.  Imagine having the ability to follow along on your own device.  Now you are more engaged than ever!  The same is true for students, having something on a projector for all to see is great, but if you have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or a one-to-one setting, Presefy is a great way to share.  Students can follow along on their own devices.  Added benefit: now there doesn’t have to be a front of your classroom.

At Anastasis, we don’t have clear fronts of the classroom.  This is intentional.  We want to be able to share and discuss in a variety of ways and locations.  Presefy lets us do just that by taking away the need for everyone to be facing one direction, with one presenter at the front.  Instead, the teacher can present and be a part of the discussion and conversation in a way that is more organic.  Students can follow along on their own devices.  Everyone has a front row seat.  Everyone can see clearly and be part of the presentation.  SO much better!

With Presefy you can broadcast and run your presentation right from your mobile device.  You even have access to see your notes and jump to any slide.  Additional features are coming soon including the ability to poll your audience, ask questions, make notes, etc.

Tips:  Right now, you are limited to having two presentations uploaded at a time.  If you invite a friend to join Presefy, you will get to upload additional presentations.

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

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

FlipSnack: Turn a PDF into an embeddable Flash Flip Book

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 27-05-2011

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What it is: FlipSnack lets students turn PDF documents into embeddable Flipbooks quickly and easily.  Students upload a PDF (or multiple PDFs) to be included in the book and FlipSnack instantly transforms it into an interactive flippable book.  In order to login to FlipSnack, students will need an email address (this can be a temporary email such as Tempinbox or Mailinator).  Students can also login using a Twitter account, Facebook connect, Google connect or MySpace connect.  FlipSnack has some neat options available that other pdf to embeddable book services like Issuu do not have.  Students can choose a template for their Flip including classic, hardcover, coil bound and interactive.  Student also have the ability to customize the background, size and buttons included in their embed.  Students can share their FlipSnack with a unique url, on social media sites and email, or embed it in another website.  The free version lets students embed the finished FlipSnack on a website or blog with a FlipSnack watermark.

How to integrate FlipSnack into the classroom: FlipSnack is a neat way for students (and teachers) to share pdf documents online.  Students can save their work as a PDF and upload into an interactive book that can be embedded on a blog, wiki or website.

Use your classroom computers as a student created library.  Students can upload original stories to a class FlipSnack account to create a library of student work.  During silent reading time, give students the opportunity to enjoy their peers as authors.  This is perfect for an elementary classroom that may not have the email addresses for each student to sign up for a separate account.

Create custom books for your students by combining PDF documents into one customized text-book.  These can be embedded on a class blog, website, or wiki for students to access from anywhere they have internet access.

Upload school handbooks, resources etc. to the classroom and school website for easy access by students and parents.

One of the features I enjoy about FlipSnack is the ability to view statistics for the flip books.  Find out how many views a Flip has had by day, month or all time.

Tips: I often use Issuu to share and embed PDFs.  It has been my go-to favorite for personal use.  I hesitated to use Issuu with students because of the collection of ALL user publications on the home page of the website.  Sometimes these were inappropriate for elementary students.  I like that FlipSnack doesn’t share user-created publications with little eyes.

Take a look at the FlipSnack I created for my new school, Anastasis Academy, embedded below:

 

Please leave a comment and let us know how you are using FlipSnack in your classroom!

Juxio: Online Visual Creation Tool

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Create, Fun & Games, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 25-10-2010

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What it is: Juxio is a new visual way to create and communicate.  The web application lets students take their own images (or images from Flickr, FaceBook, or Picasa) and add them to an image stream or panel.  Text descriptions can be added to the stream to describe the images.  Streams are where text and images get placed.  Streams expand in width as elements are added.  A Jux (Juxio creation) can be expanded vertically by adding additional streams.  This is useful for organizing content into categories or for comparison.  Each stream can have its own header to add meaning or depth to a Jux creation.  Events are used to visually segment streams.  For example, students might have an animal stream of pictures that is segmented into the events “mammals” and “reptiles”.  After students create a Jux, they can save it as a PDF file, print it, or share it online via email, Facebook, Twitter, or url.

How to integrate Juxio into your curriculum: Juxio is a fantastic online tool to use for online visual creation.  Students can mash-up text and photos to create their own Jux that can be used to organize information or display understanding.  Use Juxio for animal classification, vocabulary, historical time lines, changes over time, to tell a linear story, or display any information in an organized fashion.  Take pictures of a science experiment for students to turn into a Jux, they can start at the beginning of the experiment adding captions to each picture.  Text boxes can be added for students to type in their hypothesis at the beginning of the experiment and to add a concluding statement at the end.  Take pictures of a school field trip and create a Juxio to tell the story of what happened on the field trip.  A Jux can be created individually by students in a computer lab setting, or by a whole class using an interactive whiteboard.  Class Juxio’s can be created to display new learning, each student contributing to one Jux.  The finished product can be printed and saved in the classroom with the URL sent home so students can access the learning from anywhere.  Use Juxio in place of a traditional Friday newsletter.  Take pictures of students throughout the week, add captions explaining what learning happened during the week and add a stream for upcoming events and reminders.  Anytime you add student pictures to a newsletter, the chance that a parent takes the time to read it goes way up!

Tips: Juxio requires an email address for sign up.  In addition, students must be 13 or older to obtain their own account.  If you teach younger students, create a class account where you are the owner.  Students can create a Jux using the class account and save it with their name in the title.

Juxio offers the option to purchase the finished Jux as a poster.  Prices are very reasonable and can be used for customized classroom decoration.  Cool!

If your school has access to an iPod Touch or iPad lab, Juxio can be downloaded directly to the device as an application.

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



Crocodoc

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 08-03-2010

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What it is: Crocodoc is a new online tool that is quickly becoming a go-to application in my technology  toolbox.  Crocodoc lets you easily share and review documents online including pdfs, Word documents, and PowerPoint slides.

It is as easy as 1-2-3

1. Upload the document from your computer or a URL (no registration required!).

2. Mark up the document using the built in highlighter, sticky notes, strike out, and text.

3. Share the unique URL of your Crocodoc with others.

This is an easy way to collaborate on projects, edit student work, and critique written works.  Since Crocodoc was released last week, I have used it to share numerous documents with my students, edit a technology grant, send a lesson plans to teachers with notes about how to use them, and added my suggestions to a PowerPoint presentation.  It is SO easy to use, and since it doesn’t require registration, it is perfect for the classroom.

How to integrate Crocodoc into the classroom: Crocodoc is sure to become a favorite in the classroom setting.  Students can submit their work to you using Crocodoc.  You can add notes, highlight, and edit the document and “send”  the revisions back to the students.  Share documents with your colleagues using Crocodoc, this is an easy way to collaborate on lesson plans, educational articles, and presentations.  Students can use Crocodoc to collaborate on group projects.  It is simple to go back and forth on a document adding notes, text suggestions, highlight, and strikeout. Many free e-books can be viewed as PDF files, upload the e-book to Crocodoc and share the URL with students.  Students can highlight and add virtual sticky notes to the text as they read.  If you teach using PowerPoint slides, upload the presenations to Crocodoc to share with students who were absent.  The absent student can review the presentation, add notes, and type questions that they may have about the learning.

Tips: Crocodoc is free to use, there is no registration or sign up required.  Each document is stored securely and given a unique URL that you choose to share.  Crocodoc also offers premium pro accounts for documents that need to be password protected, priority tech support, and searchable document histories.  The paid option has some nice features, but the free option should handle everything that students and teachers need it to.

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

I have, Who has Contraction Game

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 28-01-2010

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What it is: Today I was looking for fun interactive games for students to play to practice “not” contractions.  I have used iKnow That: Alien Word Mine to practice the not contraction, but was looking for another opportunity for students to practice.  I searched for some fun activities and came up blank.  I decided to make an offline game that students could play as a class called “I have, who has?”.  In this card game, each student chooses a game card.  Each game card starts with the separate words (for example: can not) and has a contraction (for example: aren’t).  Students stand in a circle holding there game card.  Choose one student to begin by reading their card: “I have can not, who has aren’t?”  The student holding the card with “are not” responds: “I have are not, who has don’t?”.  Play continues until all matches have been made.


How to integrate I Have, Who Has Contraction Game into the classroom: There are several ways to play the I have, Who has Contraction Game.  The first way is to play as a class, with students reading the cards aloud and creating matches.  The game could also be played more like a dominoes game where students match up all the cards end to end with the correct contraction match.  I have, Who has can be played for multiple subjects.  For math facts the cards could read “I have 5+5 who has 12?”  The student holding “5+7″ would respond “I have 5+7, Who has 9?” and so on.  This game can be adapted for matching states and capitals, math facts, parts of speech, vocabulary practice, etc.  Students have a great time playing “I have, Who has?” as a class.  It is a fabulous listening game and helps practice a variety of learning.


Tips: I have attached my Contraction Game here. Download and play with your students!


Leave a comment if you have found other contraction games that your students enjoy or your adaptations of “I have, Who has?”

Lit2Go

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 22-01-2009

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What it is: Lit2Go is a FREE online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format from Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse.  With Lit2Go teachers and students can download files to an iPod or Mp3 player, listen to the Mp3 files on the computer, view the text on a webpage and read along with the audio, and print out the stories and poems to create a customized book.  Lit2Go can be searched by author, tiltle, or searched via the database (by authro, keywords, title, or reading level).  Each reading passage can be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or supplemental reading material for your classroom.  Many of the selections can be downloaded directly to your iTuens library making it a simple transfer to one or many iPods.  

 

How to integrate Lit2Go into the classroom:  Lit2Go is a fabulous resource for all readers, but is especially valuable for struggling readers.  Set up a Lit2Go listening center in your classroom.  You can either download the audio to a Mp3 player or let the students listen from the computer.  Each audio file has a PDF text version that can be downloaded and printed out as a read along.  If students are listening from the computer they can also view the text online.  Lit2Go would be a great help for a reading buddy program.  Send your struggling readers home with a Mp3 player loaded with level appropriate stories or poems and the PDF print out.  Students can practice reading anywhere, even if a parent or sibling isn’t available to read with them.  Reading levels range from .10 to 53.  You are sure to find something for every student!  This is an easy way to help differentiate instruction.

 

Tips: Search Lit2Go in the iTunes store or visit the Lit2Go website to get started.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Lit2Go in your classroom.

2009 Presidential Inauguration Lap book

Posted by admin | Posted in Character Education, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 20-01-2009

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What it is:  Curriclick is a site that I have mentioned before that provides free and low cost curriculum for download and use in your classroom.  Today they released a 2009 Presidential Inauguration Lap book for download.  After the speech today it would be great to download and use some of the reading and activities in your classroom.   

 

How to integrate 2009 Presidential Inauguration Lap book into the classroom:  I don’t know about you but I found that many of my students still didn’t “get” president Obama’s Inauguration speech even after viewing it.  Use this free lap book download to help your students understand the history behind the Inauguration speech.  Watch the speech again as a class or read the transcript of the speech.  Help your students understand this historic occasion with the help of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration Lap book.  I wish that they had released this one sooner!

 

Tips: This is a 40+ page guide.  Download the pdf version and only print out the pages you are going to use in your classroom.  NOTE!  I tried to access this site just a few min. ago and could not get to it, probably because of the flood of traffic.  Try back later today if the links in this post don’t seem to be working.

 

Leave a comment and tell us how your students responded to the speech.