Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sites for Social Studies Teachers

Thanks again to Richard Byrne and his Free Technology for Teachers, here is a list of 12 sites every social studies teacher should know about. If you don't follow Byrne's blog, you need to. If you don't read blogs or follow blogs at all, then start with his and go from there. This blog entry is just one example of the many helpful resources he has found and shared with everyone else. If you teach social studies, give this list a review over break and try a few of them and see how you might use them in your class. Happy Holidays!

ZooBurst Making Some "Best" Lists

Catching up on some blog reading and research, I have found that ZooBurst has made some people's "Best of 2010" lists. I took a quick look to see what it was all about and did find it interesting and fun. I did not try to make my own pop-up book, but it appears to be fairly easy. The downside is how you would use it in class and have upwards of 150 students make a pop-up book. I could see students making pop-up books to explain science or social studies to a younger student. We did similar things at the high school level where students made little kid books for elementary kids and explained science content to them along the way. I think you could do this or even re-create/summarize a book from reading class. The question is how to do all this easily and for free. Students might have to register for the site using an email so they can store their own pop-up book. Other than that, this site looks pretty fun and right up middle school kids' alleys. Give it a look and make sure to view a book or two already made in their gallery.

NY Times Maps Census County By County, City by City

One quick note however, this does not apparently use the 2010 Census data, but a combination of census data from 2005-2009. But I realize some social studies classes may be talking about the 2010 Census data and trying to help students understand how a census can be important and provide key information, so I figured this site might get the students exploring. I put in Carlisle's zipcode and was able to see some interesting things about Carlisle. When comparing to Des Moines or New York City, I could see ideas such as diversity, population density, and education jump out at me. Fun site to explore a little and possibly useful in class as well. Have fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best of 2010 By Subject

As always, a huge Thank you to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day. As 2010 winds down, he has published blog entries that are basically one-stop shopping for certain subjects. Want some good tools or websites for teaching science and science activities? Got it. Looking for more health resources? Yep, it's here too. I will post the links to his blog entries by subjects below. Use what you can and make sure to follow Larry and his blog as it always has some great stuff and updates daily, many times multiple times a day! As more pop up, I will edit this entry and post the new ones.

2010....A Year in Review

Well, the end of the year is here and thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day, here is a blog entry of his that puts several "2010 Year in Review" websites in one source. One reason I am posting it is simple: I need to print some of these for my time capsule for Quinn who was born in 2010. But I also know that some teachers like to use these type of year in review sites for different purposes. Whatever the reason, read and enjoy! Also, check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog, an award-winning blog that I follow daily!

IPhone App....I Wonder How We Could Get This in our School?

Maybe the coolest educational app ever and can you imagine how useful it could be in schools? Instead of typing and talking about it, just watch the video. Could we get an Iphone to some of our students? How long until it becomes and IPad App and could we get that? Interesting....

100 Best Youtube Videos....for a Teacher

Thanks to Dave the "Educational Technology Guy" and his blog, I can now pass along the top 100 Youtube videos for teachers or classrooms. This site breaks them down by topics like history, science, and the arts. There are also videos for technology, classroom management, and just plain humorous videos. With our laptops allowing Youtube, there might be some videos on here that you can use to further educate yourself or that you can show to your students. Give the website a try, likely some good stuff in there!

Google "Earth" for the Human Body?!

Something for biology and health/wellness teachers to keep an eye on: Google is making a Google Earth tool for the human body. Not sure if it is available yet, but for now, I will direct you to Hack Education's blog entry about it. The blog has a video that shows Google Human Body ("Body Browser") in action. Looks pretty neat and makes looking at the human body in a textbook kind of boring and uninformative. This is another tool that makes me think how cool education could be if all students had a laptop or tablet to view the human body in an interactive and manipulative setting. So, if you teach these things, read this blog entry and watch the video....this tool is going to be very cool!

Animoto has Possibilities

I received some Animoto Christmas cards as well as saw some Animoto videos posted on Facebook, so I did a little more reserach. Plus, I read a Cool Cat Teacher Blog about the top school Animoto video. After all of this, I had to try to make my own. The short/free version is likely too short to do much with, but I wonder if they sell site licenses or something like that. If they did, would be a nice addition to our curriculum as the possibilities are endless. Students could explain a variety of things by putting pictures, videos, and texts into their Animoto presentation and then present it to the class. If you have not used or seen Animoto stuff before, take a look at my video. This video was made in under 6 minutes, so it was very easy to use.

My quick Holiday Animoto

Google EBooks is Now Live and Ready to Use!

Alert!! Google Ebooks is now live and can be used by students, teachers, or whoever wants to use them. The best part? You don't have to pay for some books. The classics like "Pride and Prejudice" and "Great Expectations" are free and ready to read. Not sure how teachers could use all of this free material without laptops or tablet computers in class, but might be good to look at some in the computer lab and maybe encourage students to read more on their "own devices" when away from school. I am sure more books will be added in the future and in the future, if we have devices for student use, who knows....they might be reading this way in class!

Check out Google Ebooks at www.google.com/ebooks

UPDATE: I can't get the link to work above possibly because I am logged into my Google account. Either way, you might just google "Google books" and see what you can find. It is really neat to see how many fre books are available.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ultimate Source for Technology Tools

Thank you to many of the great teachers and educators who use technology and blog about it, because they put together a little book called "The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators". It is pretty short, but packed full of resources that anyone can use and refer to from time to time. Not saying you have to read it all now, but you might want to check it out over break and see if there is anything in there that you can use during the 2nd semester!

I Testing a Poll/Quiz Site...and I Liked It!

If you want to create a quick poll for the next time you are in the computer lab, I have a site for you! Why would you create a poll? Well, you could start your computer lab session with a poll where the option are questions or concerns student might have. They all log in, go to your poll, and answer the question. Boom! You have your answer as to what the students are worried about. Or, you do the poll at the end and have the options be what did the students like about the class that day. Boom! You have your answer! Either way, some good possibilities and it was very easy to do. Go to my "other blog" to see my poll that I created in under 4 minutes and posted to my blog. Go here to actually get to the polling site.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

HistoryWorld....Kind of a Neat Site

I just played around with this site for a little bit, but it looks kind of fun and interesting. If nothing else, it might be a site for history and social studies teachers to bookmark for students to use as a research tool. It appears to have some quiz functions as well. But the best part is how you can do a quick search on a topic and search it throughout time. The results pop up in a timeline form where you can move forward or back through time. I liked searching certain topics in my birth year just for fun. If you teach social studies, check this site out and play around with it!

Family Meals Fight Obesity....a SNAGlearning Film

A good video for wellness and health teachers, but also a heads up that Snaglearning continues to add good films/videos for educators. This video is 19 minutes and brings up some interesting ideas and good points. If you teach Wellness or health, check it out. If you teach at all, give this site a try.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Booklet Making Site....Another One

I have blogged about booklet making sites before, but this is another one that might be a good tool for students or teachers to try to use in class. I liked this booklet site because you can add video, pictures, text, etc. into the booklet. So this got me thinking that this could be a cool and technological way for students to make a booklet about something. Similar to the CUBE activity they did for me earlier in the year, this could be a booklet about their life. Or, they could make a booklet about a topic, a unit idea, a book review, etc. Lots of options to try. If you try this site for your own use or for your classroom, leave a comment as to how it works.

Several Sites Where Teachers can Make Games

Thank you to Richard Byrne and his Free Technology for Teachers for a new blog entry that has links to several great "make-your-own-educational-game" sites. I especially liked it because one game linked to a Jeopardy game making site. I haven't tested out the games, but there are several options to play around with.

RePrint Me...Not Sure How It is Interesting, but I Like It

I don't really get why this site is geared for the misprint papers, because you could really print anything on those, not just calendars, but this site says those misprint sheets are perfect to be recycled into calendars. I don't get why they are great for calendars, but either way, I like their templates and plan to print some out. They will work great for my counseling/teaching/coaching/parenting/etc.!!! If you want calendar templates, especially an hour-by-hour calendar template, this site is a great one to bookmark.

Schools That Use Social Media...and How.

Thank you to the blog Dangerously Irrelevant by Dr. Scott McLeod (click here to read a bio about Scott) for a great post about schools who do use social media and schools who do not. More and more schools are beginning to use social media for communication in and out of the classroom and across the community. But it is quite and a leap and one that needs studied by each school before they start using social media in their district. This blog entry is great, but the comments could be even better. I especially liked clicking on the some the school links in the comments to see how schools were using these social networking tools. Give this short blog a quick read and see what you think!

When Will Schools Begin Using Social Media?

TenMarks Math, another online Math Practice Source

TenMarks is a math tutoring and help site where students can practice more problems and teachers can create class lists and assign problems. We already use a program similar to this at Carlisle, but the basic version of TenMarks is free and has different options for parents, students, staff, and even home school students. I tested a few parts out and the problems are pretty good. I don't know if this site will or could replace what we use, but it is at least another option and an option students could use from home.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

RollerCoaster Game is Not Too Bad....

Another science link for teachers who are looking for Physics and RollerCoaster games. This one isn't too bad. I think it could be better, but might be fun for science students to play around with. It would be good to have students talk the language of science while they played these levels and do some homework along with the games, as I think just playing the games might not be enough for students to think and get the science and physics concepts. However, if you have students who are struggling or students who earn privileges, maybe this game might be a good extra activity.

ScienceFix, a blog by a MS Science Teacher, One to Follow

I don't think it is just the fact that I used to teach science, but also the fact that I really appreciate good blogs by good teachers who are willing to share what they do. In this case, this science teacher posts video of his experiments to his blog. You can also find book recommendations (I still want to read the Disappearing Spoon book!), other blog entries, and a way to communicate with this science teacher. If you teach MS or HS science (or even elementary science), I suggest you start following this blog and see how much you can learn!

Cool YouTube Extra Functions!

This post entry calls these functions "hacks", but I call them simply cool tools to use in class. I have used the Youtube Dragontape and used the Youcube. I have also used the Youtube Chop function. All of them were very useful and could be used in class. If nothing else, they are fun and easy to use functions to do more with Youtube videos. The part I like is that they can make showing videos from Youtube in class safer, easier, and work as a way to get around the fact that Youtube may get blocked or the site may be slow. Give them a try over break and see if you can use them in the classroom!