Sunday, August 29, 2010

Plagiarism Sources for Teachers...and Students

Free Technology for Students (notice I am linking directly to it now) has a great post with several sources teachers and students can use to evaluate their papers to see if it has been plagiarized. I have heard of some of these sites for teachers, but I did not know there were sites where students could see how "plagiarized" their papers are. It is always good to discuss this issue with students, but it is also good for them to know that teachers are checking their work as well. (By the way, click the link at the start of this paragraph to see the 7 sources for detecting or preventing plagiarism)

See History Animated Battle by Battle

Not sure where or exactly how this could all be useful, but I am sure you could play it on days where you talk about famous wars or famous battles in wars. Seems to be very detailed when I sampled some of it. Animations are just showing where the forces are moving to and where they fought, but with the added sound affects, it might be enough to make the students see the battles come to life a little more than a textbook could. If your class talks wars or battles, take a look at this site and see if it can help. Click this website: History Animated

Students Blogging Update....

An update to an earlier post about blogging and student blogging as now any student can blog, even those without an email address. Read the announcement from Edublogs (a great site for professional teachers!) about their recent change here. Blogging can be a great way to get any students to write as some students seem to see blogging differently than writing, yet it is basically the same thing. Some blogs like wordpress will even put all of a student's blog into a book (see my blog post about it)

Snagfilms is a Source of Documentary Films for Class.

Another source of high quality videos that you don't have to order through the AEA and wait for delivery. Many of the videos are from PBS, Explore, or National Geographic, but they do get videos from other channels or sources as well. The videos play direct from the site and it appears to have a wide selection of videos. Another nice feature is that you can search videos by grade level. Give this site a here. (Snagfilms)

Hear from a School Where They Use Phones in Class!

I am always fascinated by schools who realize that it is possible to allow students to use their phones in class for a good purpose. Teaching the students digital citizenship and how to use technology in a proper way instead of filling up the office and detention rooms with cell phone violators. Anyway, here is one school and principal who is doing just this. While I don't think this idea would work in a middle school, more and more high schools are adopting ideas and plans like this school and early signs show that it is working. No matter what, technology is changing quickly and it will be interesting to see what schools are like in 10 years. Will they have changed in order to keep up?

Click here to read the article.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FRONTLINE through PBS is a Great Tool

I have used some FRONTLINE videos in class and watched some online or on TV simply because they are so good. Now, they have a teacher part of their site which gives you all sorts of lesson plans and activities to go along with their award-winning video series. If you have never watched their videos, I can recommend some to start with: A Class Divided, Growing Up Online, Harvest of Fear, and Medicating Kids (these could be my favorites due to me being a counselor and former science teacher, but they are still very good!). If you are looking for a good video with activities done by PBS, check out this site

Whole Math Curriculum Online....and Free!

I am a big follower of TED talks (see earlier blog post) and a huge fan of anything free, so this post on Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne fascinated me right away. I recommend you watch Dan Meyer's TED talk first as he makes several good points about the way we learn math (and science as I realized during the video). After watching his video, take a look at his curriculum that he put online for free. I think our future is a future of free textbooks and curriculum online by teachers, schools, and companies and Dan Meyer could be just part of the first group. I hope his ideas catch on as I think he is on to something great. If you teach it math, check it out!

Moodle Resources and Help

Just a quick post for anyone who uses Moodle and wants help using some of its features. The first link is a Moodle-operated site with self-help videos, tutorials, etc. on how to use Moodle and its various features. The 2nd link is a link to Cat's Pyjamas blog where Joyce Seitzinger has a 1-page quick guide to your Moodle use and questions. Both are worth a quick look if you use Moodle and ever have questions:

140 Things We Are Trying This Year!

Well, not we as in Carlisle teachers, but we as in educators. Actually, I am just excited to have a working computer again after being without for 3 days!! Anyway, take a look at this blog entry at Free Technology for Teachers and the powerpoint that goes with it. This is a powerpoint made up of 140 ideas educators submitted when asked the question "What new things will you try this year?" If you are wondering, my idea is slide #60: Use my student/parent blog more, make and send more newsletters, and keep this blogsite going by posting lots of useful ideas related to technology and education. One thing I found in this slide show that was interesting was the web addresses of all of these educators. It might be valuable to view their site or Twitter account, just as much as reading what they said. Some teach the same things we do! Slides go quickly, but there are some good things mentioned. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Possible Learning Community for Educators

A site called Nuvvo is a possible learning community for our staff or any educator. Actually, even for non-educators, if you have an interest in a topic, you might find that topic on this site and could join that learning community and share information, knowledge, activities, and questions back and forth. I searched for "counseling" but did not find a community for that. They suggest I start one and invite other people to join. Think of it like a social network for certain topics. Want to learn more about Science teaching? Join that community and you have "science teaching friends" all over the country/world to talk to and bounce questions off of. Good idea, but I have not tested it on this site. If someone tries it, let me know. Leave a comment and tell us your experience. is a Good Math Activities Site

After catching it on the blog "Free Technology for Teachers", I tried a multiplication activity on this numbernut site and I thought it was pretty good. The unique thing is that you can choose word problems, not just flashcards with the problem on it. I actually had to read a sentence or two and find out what I was multiplying. I only tried the one game, but I assume many of the others are just as good. I did not see much algebra or upper-level items, but to help kids with basic math, this site would be great. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Place to Find A Blog to Follow

Edublogs has long been a great source for educational blogs, including student blogs, but now they have a very nice and easy directory to browse by subject you are interested in or teach. Just click on the link below, pick an area to search, and see a list of blogs including their last 3 blog post titles. Looking at the titles will give you an idea of what they blog about and how often. If you like the blogs, subscribe to it or place it in your "reader" (I use Google reader at I may add a screencast on how to find a blog and add it to a reader if you are not sure how to do this. Either way, if you have a goal to follow some educational blogs this year (besides this one!), this is a good place to start.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Could You Do With Your Own Business Card? What Could Students Do With Their Own Card?

The reason I ask is that every once in awhile I am reminded about how cool of a company and website "Vistaprint" is. I used to have business cards from Vistaprint and will likely order some this year. But after reading a counseling blog today, I started to many ways could we use business cards? Maybe a teacher makes business cards with his/her website, email address, and hours available and hands them out to students or at conferences? Maybe, a teacher makes a business card more like a "reminder card" with things students need to know for class every week (one card could work for the whole year by having information like "Quizzes every Friday, spelling lists due every Tuesday, did you do your weekly spelling practice?" This could then be stapled into their planner or moved from week to week. Maybe you have students make business cards for someone famous, a historical figure, or make a card of what they learned about a project. I don't think you would have to even order them officially, you could just look at their creations and grade them. If you want to order, Vistaprint has a wide range of "free" products including a variety of business card designs to choose from. All you do is pay Shipping and Handling. The ideas are endless, let me know if you try one!

link to blog about using VistaPrint:

They even have a facebook page with more deals!

Monday, August 9, 2010

ESPN's Sports Science

Quick post to alert you to a new site by ESPN called "Sport Science". I used to use some ESPN videos from the 1990's that explained the science behind sports and they were good, but kind of cheesy. I am not sure what all this site has to offer, but I watch the HR trajectory video on TV during the All-Star HR Derby contest and even I learned some things about science that I didn't know, so it has to be good stuff right?! Appears to be basically videos for right now, but there might be something a science teacher could use for students who really get into sports.

Google Docs can Translate to Over 50 Languages

Sometimes I don't know why I don't use sites like this more often. I should have used this site so many times last year, but sadly, I did not. Anyway, they have made some improvements and changes that have helped make the translator even better. But the gist of this tool is that you can upload any saved document to Google Docs and then go to "tools" and click translate and pick a language. I picked Spanish and very quickly had translated several documents to Spanish. You can then translate it back to English to see how well it got translated back and forth, but from reviews I have heard, when you translate it to Spanish, it makes pretty good sense. It is not perfect, but it would get your point across I assume. If you have students in your class that speak another language, you might consider using this site a lot! I have attached the blog from Free Technology for Teachers (Thank you Richard Byrne!) so you can see what he says about the tool. The link to Google Docs is in his blog. Enjoy!

Health Hut: Good blog for Health and Wellness

Just a quick post to alert health, wellness, and PE teachers to a blog called "Health Hut". There are not a ton of blogposts on this site and new posts are not added very frequently, but the posts that are on there are very good and usually have links to many other posts and websites with even more information. If you teach anything about health, nutrition, or general wellness, this might be a site to check every now and then.

If your Students Blog, They Could be Writing a Book

Can you imagine telling the students that they will write a novel this year? A book? Or a 30-chapter story about themselves? They would likely freak out! But, if you have them blog weekly using Wordpress (a format I have used in the past), they could easily write a book over the course of the year and Wordpress has the ability to have them turn it into an ebook or a printable book! If you use the link below (thanks to Free Tech. for Teachers, again!), and have the students blog using Wordpress, they can click, drag, rearrange, add chapters and titles, and eventually organize all of their blogs into a book. As someone who has always wanted to write a book, I hope their is a way to do this with blogger, the format I use. I wish stuff like this was around when I was young as I wrote enough to make a book, but never had a way to put it all together very easily. Very cool stuff...give it a try!

KidsTube: A Place to Post Student Videos Safely

Youtube is a great site, but it is public worldwide and some pretty crazy stuff gets on there. And who knows who looks at what on there and how it could come back to hurt you in some way if you post items to it. Maybe this is where KidsTube comes in. When I read their "About Us" portion of their website, I knew I could recommend this site to teachers. If you have students who want to videotape a project or something they do and post it, this might be a good place to post it. They can get good, constructive feedback and it is much safer. I don't know how exactly teachers could use this as I doubt teachers video many projects and later post them to a video site, but might just be a good site to recommend to students. They have weekly contests where students can make and upload videos to attempt to win prizes. Kind of a neat site, give it a look!

Let the Kids Use Facebook....for Historical Figures!

As I do this blog, I am always amazed at what a teacher could do with students, but overwhelmed by all of it. I think I found something very cool for students to do and very easy for the teacher to implement. I can just imagine how neat the students will think this idea is. I learned of a site (thanks Free Tech. for Teachers!) where students can make a fake FACEBOOK page for a historical figure (or even a current one I suppose). It is a template on Google docs where students just put in the information like their profile picture, who their friends would be, what some sample wall posts might be, their achievements, etc. HOW COOL IS THAT!! Can you imagine your students making a page for George Washington? JFK? Martin Luther King? This is a must idea somewhere in a curriculum and one the students will be talking about!

Just Looking to try Something New This Year?

I have placed all sorts of links and my thoughts on this blog, but as the school year approaches, it is crunch time and you might be looking to just try one or two new things this year when it comes to technology. Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers, a nice list of "11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year" has just been published. I really like the idea of trying a class blog to get information out to parents. I also like the many things you can do with Google and Google Maps. Having the students tie a map with notes typed right onto the map to go along with whatever their project is sounds like something simple to do. If you are unsure of what you want to try this year, give this link a quick read and see what sounds interesting or possible. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Printing From the Web...Without all the Junk!

I have not "field-tested" this site yet, but I plan to later this week. But if it goes well, I will edit my post to tell you my results. Apparently, by using this site, you can put in the address from a website you want to print from and select just the areas you want to print. And when it prints, you will not get the ads, the weird boxes, pictures, or other things that seem to waste paper and take up extra space that you did not want. Like I said, I have not tried this site yet, but I print a lot of articles from the web for class use or to put up on the walls, so if it works, I know I will find huge value out of it.

What Will You do on the First Day of School?

Whether you are a new teacher or veteran teacher, the first day of school is always nerve-wracking. You always want to be your best and do something that sets the tone or that the student remembers. If you are in need of ideas, please check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog post where he talks about his ideas and has readers submit theirs. I did a quick read and skim and found some good stuff. In fact, I may consider doing what "Dave" does when he talks about the "most valuable item" in the room. Cool stuff and some great ideas. Give it a read before Day 1 is here...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Learning Portal for Educators

Not sure how to describe this site except by saying if you have a topic about education that you are thinking of or researching and want to see what educational organizations and groups are saying about it, check here. From PBIS to bullying to behaviors to families, virtually every topic is on here somewhere. From NEA to state groups to research groups to administrator groups are linked on here. And when you find an article, you can click to read more or go to that group's website to learn more. Interesting stuff, especially if you are doing some research. Can Be Useful in Classrooms

I didn't play around with this site too much, but I did see it's possibilities. If you are showing 2-4 short clips from Youtube (and maybe any online video site), you can find them and paste them into a chain and then play the chain of videos. That way, you don't have to load up each individual video or go searching for each one while students wait. All the videos you want to show from your computer are right there in one continuous video. If this site allows videos from outside Youtube, then it can be extremely useful. Also, if this helps teachers get around Youtube being blocked by their school by creating the chain of videos at home (then becomes it's own not through Youtube), then it will be useful for those teachers. Give it a try!

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day for alerting me about this site!

Interesting Ways to.....

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day (, I started looking through the website that contains "Interesting Ways" to do many things in the classroom. I had actually looked through this site awhile ago when I stumbled upon it, but looked at it more and looked at some of the newer entries this time around. It is a great site to look at every now and then as it has many ways to use different pieces of technology in your classroom. Since the school year is almost ready to start, feel free to start with the "Interesting Ways to Get to Know your Class"

Should Teachers Blog? Could We Blog?

Now that I have been working on this blog for awhile, I continue to see major advantages to blogging. The only issue is time, but I think more and more, time may not be an issue if done right. Once the blogsite is set up and parents and other educators are notified about the site, you can get lots of information out to these people quickly and you can communicate back and forth through this same blog site. Obviously not everyone has Internet capabilities and not everyone will check your blog, but getting the information out is still very valuable, especially to some. (Side note....setting up a class page on Facebook, not "friending" your students and parents but setting up an information page, can also be a great classroom tool to use!) So...what is the hold up? Well, if you are like me, it was simply not knowing what a blog is or how to set one up? This brings me to my next informational link...Commoncraft videos. I am not embedding these videos or showing them to my class as you will learn even though they are free on the site and on Youtube, they do request you sign up for a license if you are using these for profit, using these for large group educational purposes, or using these in a training. Maybe not all are on Youtube and those on Youtube are free, I don't know, but either way, I think the link I have below is a great 3 minute plus video that makes blogs simple. I also recommend watching the short video about "RSS feeds" made simple. Long story short: Consider doing a class/teacher blog this year and see if it can add to your class.

CommonCraft site:

Making "Book Trailers" as Option to Book Reviews

I am a huge fan of movie trailers (you know, the previews of upcoming movies before the real movie starts??). In fact, I often watch movie trailers online the day or week they come out and by the time I go to a real movie (not often with kids at home!), I have often seen all the movie trailers already online. But I still love watching them again. When Free Technology for Teachers alerted me of a site where you can watch and post "book trailers", I was intrigued. Not only did I enjoy watching a few, I agree with the idea that this could be something fun for students to do and make as well. I am not really sure how to make these book trailers, but I am sure there are multiple methods and I am sure it is similar to the way students videotape and post to Youtube as well. So, if you are teaching reading or language or just love books, take a look at this site and have some fun!

My Wonderful World is Wonderful for Social Studies

After reading about My Wonderful World website on Free Technology for Teachers, I gave it a try. I'm not a social studies teacher, but it is one of my favorite subjects. The main page has lots of information and interesting facts, as well as ways to navigate to areas for teachers, students, and parents. I tried one of the geography games (didn't do well, but it was a good game) and clicked on some of the links. Eventually, you find yourself on other National Geographic sites as this site is just an offshoot of National Geographic. Having the backing of National Geographic makes this even a better site. I don't think you could ever see everything on this site and it appears to change stories and information often, but I am sure you could find some items useful to students and your class, or at least to you as you teach. Have fun!

Search Engines for Students

I'm posting a link to a great resource from the blog "Free Technology for Teachers" by Richard Byrne. He has posted 7 different search engines that are safe and likely better for kids in our school to use when searching for factual and age-appropriate information. Feel free to try some of these. I have used the Sweet Search and the Wolfram Alpha searches before and had good successes in finding what I was looking for.

Link to Richard Byrne's blog:

Wiglington & Wenks: Interesting...Explore More

I made up an account on this site (very easy!) and explored around more. I have a feeling that this is a site students may use easier than adults. It is a mix of a virtual world/social networking and a variety of field trips and learning experiences. Granted, I only played around with it a little bit, but when I clicked on items within my view I would learn what they were and why they were important in history. From reading about this site, apparently, you can go on quests where you learn about history and places in our world while playing educational games. I would love to have some teachers try this out and report back or even have some students give it a try as a social studies extra project or extra credit. Could be kind of fun...maybe the students could show the teachers how it works! Either way, consider giving it a try as it looks like it could be fun and useful!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Clicker is a good spot for Finding Videos

You may find that you like this site already and didn't even think about using it for school, but it can be. In my former life as a science teacher, I was always looking for videos. Well, Clicker houses thousands of videos from major movies to major TV show series to science videos. If you want to show a NOVA video, look for it may be free! Same with other Discovery shows. Or maybe you want to use a piece of a movie or a show that the kids know...well it may be free or at least available to download for a price and now you can show it. I think this site is similar to, so you might try both. I just happened to notice the large amounts of free science shows from TV on this site first. Enjoy!

also might try:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

BigHugeLabs is a fun place to Use Pictures

A fellow teacher (Thanks Erin!) helped me find this site and after I played around with it for fun and used my own kids' pictures, I realized that it could be good for teams and students as well. I think you could make the motivational photos of students when they do something good or just for fun. You might even be able to have students make educational picture things with the site. Take a look at the site and take a look at my sample pictures and then try some yourself. Note...I did not order my pictures, but wonder if I could print my motivational pictures off on photo paper and frame them? Hmmmm......