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The Potato Story

What it is: The Potato Story is a great interactive from the UK that teaches students about food (specifically the potato) and how it gets from field to fork.  The story focuses on how the potato is grown and harvested and it’s journey from the farm to the table where kids eat it.  It also teaches...

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Project PLN November Issue: Sharing issue

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, professional development, Project PLN, Teacher Resources | Posted on 29-11-2012

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I’m a little behind this week (actually this year has been one big game of playing catch-up).  Last week, Nick and I published the latest issue of Project PLN.  It is worth reading through, it gave me just the right jolt of inspiration to tackle some of the catch-up project that have been on the outskirts for too long.  I hope it does the same for you!  You should know, right now I am giving myself giant pats on the back for posting the November issue here BEFORE December.  Sometimes it is the little things that keep you going :)

Here in the US we are polishing off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  Luckily those things that we are thankful for linger much longer than the turkey.   You know what we are thankful for?  Our PLN!  You all are truly incredible.  We are so thankful for the ways that you share with us (and educators around the world).  A BIG thank you to all of our contributors for the November Sharing Issue. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you. That is the truth!

This issue is jam-packed full of great lesson ideas(grammar can be fun, Count of Monte Cristo on trial!), helpful techy tips (great Google Chrome extensions), inspiration to keep plugging ahead, and much more!  Take some time to relax and be inspired this week. Consider this issue a big THANK YOU for all that you do for education every day.

We are now accepting submissions for the March Issue. We have decided to label it the “Innovation Issue”. We want to dedicate this issue to creative/innovative ideas in education and in classrooms.  What are you doing in your school/classroom that others should be?  What needs to change?  What adjustments must be made to allow room for this innovation?

If you think you have something awesome to share, please send an email to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com and we will add it to the March Issue. Please follow the guidelines for submissions below so we can quickly and easily load your posts to the site.

Please email the article or link to the article to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com

Please include a small bio that includes your blog, Twitter handle and other information you would like to share. A picture is encouraged, but not required.

It may be a piece you have published on your blog already. A good idea is still a good idea even if you had it a few months ago.

Please submit posts by Monday March 4. We expect for the issue to go live on Tuesday March 12.

Thanks again for all of the support you have given Project PLN over the years.

Have an awesome school year,

Kelly  and Nick

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

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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!

19 Pencils

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 03-06-2011

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What it is: 19 Pencils is a beta site that provides teachers with a place to share websites, quizzes and video from one central, customizable location.  From 19 Pencils you can discover, organize, manage and share content with your students for learning.  19 Pencils is very easy to use and makes it fast to share collections of online material with students.  Collect and share websites, create and use ready-made quizzes and track student progress on that online content.  Teachers can share one link and students can access all online content for the classroom from one location.

How to integrate 19 Pencils into the classroom:19 Pencils makes it easy for teachers to collect and share resources with their students online.  Clear out all of those sticky notes and the bookmark bar crammed full of web addresses (or am I the only one that does that?) and compile them all in one place that is easy for everyone to access.  Add websites (complete with preview picture), teacher-created quizzes and video to your 19 Pencils classroom space.  Students can easily access all classroom materials from one URL on classroom computers, in the computer lab or at home.  This is a fantastically easy site to use!  Even the technology novice can put together a collection for students quickly.  Create 19 Pencils collections for units of learning, subjects or just as a collection of learning site recommendations for students.

I am a big fan of the site visual previews, this is SO helpful for young students who are just emerging as readers. No matter what age group you are working with, more learning is possible when students aren’t spending times typing in long urls.   19 Pencils also makes it easy to share with your colleagues!

Tips: Want to create a comprehensive website for your classroom?  Check out Weebly, Wix or Bloust!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  19 Pencils in your classroom!

Trick.ly

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Fun & Games, Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 01-06-2010

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What it is: There are several url shortening tools out there that let you shrink down a cumbersome url into something more manageable for sharing.  Trick.ly is a url shortener with an added feature: it can be password protected.  When you share the url, you can add a clue and a password that has to be used in order for the shared website to be accessed.  You may be wondering why you would want to password protect a url in the classroom, I’m glad you asked… 

How to integrate Trick.ly into the classroom: I am constantly sharing shortened url’s with my students, it makes it easy to get all my students to the same website quickly.  Trick.ly adds the ability to password protect the url.  This could add a layer of learning and fun to accessing websites in the classroom.  Give your students a Trick.ly shortened url with a secret clue that helps students “unlock” the website. For example, if you are using National Geographic Maps website with your students, don’t just send them to the website, give them a clue that is related to the website such as “Capital of Colorado”.  Students have to correctly solve the puzzle to unlock access to the game.  The password “Denver” would provide students with access to the website.  Create Trick.ly shortened url’s with math, geography, history, spelling, vocabulary, science, or foreign language problems built in.  Make the clue to solve related to the end website that students will access.  Kids enjoy solving problems, adding a puzzle to a website gives students a sense of anticipation for the activity they will be completing.  Trick.ly urls take just seconds to create, they are a fast, easy way to direct your students to a website.

Tips: Trick.ly would be a great way to share websites and web pages that you create for your classroom.  We have a school Facebook and Twitter account.  If I wanted to share pictures I took of our school carnival, I could share them with Trick.ly, adding a layer of protection.

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

Kids and Cookies

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 04-11-2008

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What it is:   Kids and Cookies is an online flash game that teaches elementary students about fractions in a game setting.  Students choose characters to be their “friends” and then choose how many cookies they have.  They have to evenly share the cookies with their friends and can use different cutters to divide the cookies.  The site provides a great introduction to rational number fractions.

 

How to integrate Kids and Cookies into the classroom:    This is a great site for introducing your students to the concepts of fractions, especially those at the “sharing” and “fair” age because of the way that they have to share and split up the cookies fairly.  This would be a good whole class activity with an interactive whiteboard or a projector where students take turns sharing their cookies.  As they share the cookies, talk about the fractions of cookies (for example when they split the cookie in half or in thirds.)  This would also be a perfect site to use as a math center.  Students can visit the center in groups and discuss their findings as a whole class after every student has had the opportunity to interact with the site.

 

Tips:  You can find more advanced (much more advanced) flash math games and activities on the Center of Technology and Education site where the Kids and Cookies game is hosted. This is also a great game for those of you who don’t have Internet access in your classroom because their is a free downloadable version of the game for Macs and PC’s…cool!

 

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