EXPLORE SCIENCE GAMES
Think About It: I love teaching technology...I love teaching science! Historically, getting my students excited about scientific exploration was much easier when using the Virtual Science Lab on the iPad. Today I found a web application that I believe rivals any of the apps in my library. The virtual web adventures designed by The Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning (CTTL) is a wonderful site for middle and high school students to practice and undertake research through simulations that are engaging, productive and true to the goals of NSTA standards. CTTL has created beautiful graphics for some of the best online virtual and interactive science labs I have ever reviewed.
Cool Science Careers
In The Classroom: Experience Science First Hand is a free online web adventure series, with accompanying classroom activities, teacher support materials, and magazines. The focus is on teaching middle school students about infectious diseases. This free web adventure allows students to investigate pathogens, the diseases they cause, and the body's immune response. Students will perform virtual experiments that will reinforce scientific methods and encourage careers in STEM. FREE handouts available!
To My Surprise: My students level of quiet concentration on this activity surprised me. At the middle school level I was unsure how my students would relate to a game that was centered upon an alcohol related fatality. Student feedback was overwhelming positive. Some of my students played the game at home to share with their parents how they enjoyed "learning in the tech lab about science stuff." I smiled when one of my kids inquired if this is how the forensic expert on NCIS started her career. As a teacher I enjoyed having an interactive activity that blended STEM standards and a game based approach to learning. I am very much looking forward to what CTTL has planned for the future.
Think About It For better or worse, the web has become our primary source of information. Our students no longer use the library or district assigned textbooks as core research material. Training our students how to perform relevant searches needs be part of curriculum expectations in every core subject to ensure that our students know how to sort through the available sources to find and determine what is relevant and what is useful. Google Search Education is an excellent source to help train students in the research skills and habits of mind that will enable them to find, identify, evaluate, and use high-quality information in independent and high-level ways.
Improving Research - Effective Keywords
In The Classroom Web literacy skills have the potential to increase student interest and engagement. A great example of using effective keyword searches is found on this TeachingChannel video created by Olga Ramos. I am sure you will be as impressed as I was watching Olga's students explore strategies to use precise and alternative vocabulary words to retrieve relevant and useful information from the internet. The video is embedded with a link to Common Core State Standards for Reading and Language Arts. Here is a great example of the use of technology in a simple and clear format.
To My Surprise I took some time off this weekend to head out to our family cabin in Pine, AZ. While playing on my iPad I came across a cool little search tool called Phlo. Some of my best discoveries have been found on random searches using multiple search engines. Phlo ($2.99 in the App Store) is a great little tool that lets you search 30 search engines, such as Twitter, eBay, Facebook, Flickr, Wolfram Alpha and more. I am thinking about how to use it in the classroom in the upcoming weeks. Phlo for iOS requires iOS 6 and is optimized for the iPhone 5. It's worth a look if you're a constant "searcher."
Youtube CCS & Ed Tech
Think About It "It's education that's meant to take us into this future that we can't grasp." Ken Robinson. This is one of my favorite quotes as an educator. The Common Core Initiative continues to rewrite the way we teach, assess and document what happens in our classrooms Understanding how the Common Core Standards are shaping the future of our classrooms starts with our ability to identify what areas of the process we are responsible for in the collaborative development of our students. Sir Ken Robinson's 2013 TED Talk identifies how to nurture our youngest generation with a climate of possibility that integrates the vision of the Common Core Initiative.
Common Core K12 Blueprint and Tool Kit
In The Classroom Can you identify which piece of the puzzle you impact? Find comprehensive, creative and powerful tools/strategies for implementing the CCS in the CCS K12 Blueprint and Tool Kit by Tim Sparacino.
Discovery Edu Common Core
To My Surprise Discovery Education's Common Core Academies are free events arranged around the themes of Common Core Math, Common Core Language Arts, and leadership of Common Core implementation. The highlights of each academy are...
Think About It: Stories that excite the imagination and inspire creative response are everywhere. Having a tool to gather elements of inspiration has never been easier. Flipboard is currently one of my favorite apps to create and share resource materials, reading lists, educational videos and lectures. Flipboard is one of the few apps that easily supports the Bring Your Own Device trend by making the app performance universal. This free app lets you tap and flip your way through digital magazines on smartphones and tablets, laptops and desktops. Teachers can curate current events, create a class syllabus, class projects and invite students to create magazines of their own.
MEET FLIPOARD YOUTUBE
In The Classroom: Whether the subject is english, science, music or PE, Flipboard offers educators an easy way to create and share resource materials, reading lists, educational videos and lectures. Students can be editors, too, by creating magazines around subjects they’re studying or by creating group projects in a versatile new form.. My student's feedback is overwhelmingly positive when I allow them to turn in a creative project using this format. The app encourages students to become involved in the research process of cultivating meaningful sources of information across all sources of media.
Cool Cat Vicki Davis
To My Surprise: While researching for this article I was surprised to find how popular this app is across the board for educators. As a visual learner I appreciate the color format. Instead of a list of links, Flipboard converts the content into pretty articles that draw your eye to them. Setting it up with preferred reading materials, from niche blogs to publications like The New York Times and National Geographic is a snap. I came across Vicki Davis' insightful review of Flipboard while researching for my blog. I love her endorsement... here.
Think About It: Sometimes I "go for a Google" to check out sites that might help me identify new trends or rework parameters for projects under construction that aren't flowing quiet as smoothly as I had planned. More often than not the TeachingChannel pops up in the first 10 search suggestions.The TeachingChannel is a perfect site to check out great teaching and inspiring ideas in education. I especially liked what I found today regarding redirecting students with "the look."
I've Never "Motivated" A Student
In The Classroom: Today I had the pleasure of watching my grade 8 students collaborate during a creative writing assignment. The students are far enough into the school year to understand expectations. Content for the creative stories quickly digressed into playful teasing of friends in the description of main characters. My first response was to go silent and put on "that face." For the most part, I would say the students recovered appropriate behavior quickly and moved forward with the assignment. But reflectively, I just didn't like the the feeling that replaced the cooperative peer to peer support that had developed in the beginning of the assignment. Larry Ferlazzo writes a great piece about motivating winning behavior.
To My Surprise: Watching the TeachingChannel video My Teacher Look: Getting Students Back on Track was helpful in creating an opportunity to identify what was bothering me. Observing another professional give "the look" made me wonder how my students internalized my teacher look. In the video the look appeared to say, " I see you, I don't like what you are doing, others are watching, now back down." Of course, that is simply my interpretation. Prior experience with middle school and high school students makes me believe that there are definitely better ways to communicate a request for redirection. I discovered some great insight in the comments posted below the TC video. A very good resource for professional growth.
Mrs. Wilkinson Grade 2
Write as globally as you can.
Websites are global. Great websites acknowledge that. You should make sure that your objective and purpose for building your website is clear so that all your readers will know exactly what you mean. Mrs. Wilkinson's website is a great example of writing for a global audience. Parents, peers, students and visitors to her site can easily relate to the references she makes regarding grade level curriculum and expectations. Her layout, choice of colors and pictures paint a vivid image of her classroom culture and feeling tone.
Mr. Phelps Jr High
Keep your pages short, but not too short.
Writing for the web is different from writing for print. People skim online, especially when they first get to a page. You want the contents of your page to give them what they want quickly, but provide enough detail for those who want expansion on the basics. Mr. Phelps does an excellent job streamlining events and description of assignments due. Providing students archived posts of past assignments and the opportunity to turn in papers online via his website creates a fluent exchange of information for students, parents, and teacher.
Mrs. Dietz - Physical Education
Keep links current. Make your site more valuable.
No matter how great a website you build, you can never be all things to all people, nor contain all the relevant information & value a user might be seeking on your given topic. As such, it makes great sense to leverage the power of the web - the power of links - to create an easy, scalable path to making your site's experience better and more rewarding for those who visit. Check out the amazing use of multi media links on Mrs.Dietz's website for physical education!
Mrs. Urig's Math Drills
Accomplishing something that has never been done (learning for all), means that we need to aggressively break down the culture of teacher isolationism. Professional Learning Communities realize that they can never accomplish their goals if they leave teachers behind. They understand that to establish a culture that continually improves teacher practice, they must find ways to support all teachers regardless of experience or expertise. Professional Learning Communities think differently, they move past identifying the problem to relentlessly pursuing the solution. They are action oriented and eliminate outside factors as a reason for not changing behavior.
This year Paradise Valley Christian Preparatory is piloting 5 new PLC"s across grade level and curriculum. Teachers are being encouraged to explore and record new growth opportunities in Technology, Essential Elements of Instruction, Science Inquiry, Socratic Methods and Student Engagement.. Grand Canyon University (GCU) is promoting Partners in Learning, Leading and Serving (PPLS). GCU created PLLS to offer services and opportunities focused on attracting, retaining and maintaining quality professionals in education and educational leadership.