Monday, September 26, 2011

Check Out this AWESOME Project

In our ELITE courses, we have been talking a great deal about BYOD-bring your own device. Mrs. Strebler decided to try out a new project. Click the link below to see the pictures her class took. She was inspired by this lesson on the Scholastic website. Here is the text she sent to her parents:

PEGS Parents,

Mrs. Brooks and I were out yesterday at a Technology training. Part of what I did was create a Flickr account. Here is the link to it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/concordpegs/

In science, all of the classes are learning about plant and animal cells along with the 6 Kingdoms. As an extra credit assignment this weekend, if you have access to a cell phone that can take pictures you can email to my flickr account, please let your learner take some pictures of living things and send them to me. On Monday, we will use them to classify them into Kingdoms and Phyla (many tend to get this part confused). It could even be in the fungi, bacteria or protist kingdoms. My email address to the account is:

XXXXXXXXXX

You could even take them with a digital camera and send them via email on a computer. This is just for extra credit. Please do not let them panic if they do not get a chance to try this. We will see how successful we are and hopefully this will be a useful tool in the future.


Thanks so much for your help.


What are you trying in your classrooms?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creating a QR code Treasure Hunt

Check out this awesome site to create a QR code Treasure hunt.  In four easy steps, you can have an easy activity to get students moving and learning with their mobile devices.
http://www.classtools.net/QR/

Powerful Tweet

Good point about 3:1. Ties back to my cooking/shop analogy. You don't have a stove for every kid, but they work in groups. #edchat from @geraldaungst

I really like to follow that hash tag #edchat

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is handwriting a thing of the past?

I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning show and this came on.  This topic is something that many of us have been talking about.  Is handwriting really dead or just changing?  Will there always be a need for pen and paper?  What are your thoughts?

What the clip and read about it here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Science = fun? I thought it was boring...




This is a pretty moving video.  Some of the comments from the youtube page are pretty moving.  What if he was your high school science teacher?  Could he have altered your path?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

ka-BOOM! This is an amazing blog post. Maybe the most moving in a year.

Stone Soup: A Classroom Parable



from The Blue Skunk Blog


MultiMedia Schools, Nov/Dec 1996
When Ms. Eastman returned to school one fall she found a large boulder had appeared in the middle of her classroom. It was about the size of washing machine, gray with silver glints, and could neither be ignored nor moved.
“I think you’ll just have to make the best of it,” the principal advised, unable to explain how or why it came to be there. “I think the Board may have wanted it, and the budget just won’t support hiring a professional rock mover,” he said in a single breath, and resumed his telephone conversation with the parent of child who had just eaten a wall-mounted pencil sharpener.

***
When Ms. Eastman’s students returned, they immediately pounced on the rock.
     “Hey, it’s like the one in my backyard.”
    “Check it out. It’s a throne.”
    “Nah, a bomber.”
    “It’s perfect for my desk!”
    “Where did it come from, why is it here, who gets to sit at it, why can’t we all have one?”
Ms. Eastman asked the class to get to work, and as they opened their textbooks and began to quietly read, she distributed worksheets.

***
The rock proved to be an annoyance. It was right in the middle of the room. It made creating a seating chart difficult. It was too far from the front of the room to be used as a stand for the overhead projector, and the irregularity of its surface made it a poor desk or surface on which to affix papers. On occasion, when a student had done exceptionally well, Ms. Eastman allowed that person to “Read on the Rock.” But for the first quarter, the entire class just worked around the boulder.
Late one November afternoon, Ms. Eastman overheard two students engaged in a heated argument over the composition of the stone. “Settle this intelligently,” she admonished. “Both of you, go to the library, do your research, and come back and report to the class.” In less than half an hour, two excited children returned.  “It’s definitely basalt with quartz flecks. Hey, do know where this came from? A volcano…” The class listened intently as the pair shared their findings about the rock.

***
Over her second margarita that evening, Ms. Eastman reflected on that afternoon’s class, and decided it had gone particularly well. The kids were enthusiastic and attentive. One of the two children who did the research on the rock performed at higher level and showed more interest in school than Ms. Eastman thought possible. She began to see the rock’s glitter in a new light.
The next Monday morning, Ms. Eastman read the class the myth of Sisyphus, and asked the students to use questions raised during the discussion as the basis of their journal writing. Over the next week or so, articles related to rocks keep popping up in magazines and newspapers. Ms. Eastman used these as springboards for lessons in math and science and history. Soon students were finding and sharing information they themselves had found about rocks in their reading and viewing.
Just before turning off the classroom lights one evening, Ms. Eastman caught a glimpse of white near the base of the stone. It was a note left in a crevice of the rock. When asked, the class sheepishly admitted the rock was serving as a classroom post office. “Are these the same kids I can’t get to put two cogent words together in their journals?” wondered Ms. Eastman. She struck a deal with the class: they could continue to write their letters as long as they revised one letter each week.  That letter would be read for grammar and spelling, and could be shared with the rest of the class.

***
As the year progressed, many activities began to center around the rock. Parts of the rock easily broke away into pebble size pieces and the class began a business selling “Stone Soup Starters.” In the processes, students applied math, designed advertisements, and worried about ethics. At various times the rock was the setting for plays about the Pilgrims and pioneers on the Oregon trail. Science class divided into small groups which used the rock to demonstrate principles of acids and bases, friction, gravity, and sundials.  One morning a small wooden door appeared firmly attached to the base the rock, which one student adamantly declared was a passage to Van Allsburg Land. Van Allsburg Land soon had a language with its own syntax, a codified set of laws, and even its own culture - all which in some strange way reflected the world the class lived in and was trying hard to understand.

***
One day in early May the principal called Ms Eastman to his office. “Do you have the correct code to the photocopier?” he asked.  Ms. Eastman looked puzzled. “You have made almost no photocopies since October. We need these numbers to satisfy the central office, you realize.” He was right, Ms. Eastman mused. She hadn’t used many worksheets, she’d used only pieces of her text book, and had not shown a videotape from beginning to end since November. Her grade book had only a few entries, but each of her students had a pizza box crammed with exemplary reports, graphs, drawings, and models she had asked them to collect since the last parent teacher conference.
She reflected her class this year must have just been made up of exceptional children, just the right chemistry. They cooperated, they were genuinely interested in school, they held good discussions, and they were conscientious about the quality of their work. They seemed to be reading more newspapers and magazines, came back from the library with more materials and fewer complaints from the librarian, and could apply math principles more quickly and accurately to every day problems than previous years’ classes. Ms. Eastman was still in happy amazement as her graduate classes started in June.

***
When Ms. Eastman returned to her classroom the following fall she found a computer had appeared in the middle of her classroom…

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I welcome our robot overlords.

Are we going to be replaced with robots someday?  I think there is a possibility.  Check this out.  What do you get when you cross 7-eleven and Amazon?

Click for the amazing answer.

Blurb Your Blog

www.blurb.com
Check out this amazing website that allows you to turn (slurp) your blog into a book!  This site allows you to import your blog into easy to use software and turn your work into a beautiful coffee table piece of art.  Kelly P. at Long shares this with her parents at the end of the year as a class "yearbook" that they can order.  It is an awesome record of her year and a great reference to review the projects she did with her class.  Check it out today!  I plan on making one for my own personal blog.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Awesome Review....Epson Projector/Tools Tutorials

This is a collection of videos created in order to help you successfully use the Epson projector.
How to Calibrate Your Epson Projector


How to Find and Launch Your Epson Easy Interactive Tools


White Board Mode-Easy Interactive Tools


Importing a Picture with the Easy Interactive Tools


Using the Easy Interactive Tools-Pen


Additional Tools in Mouse Mode

Installing the Diigo toolbar.

This might be the most important step for using Diigo in the classroom. The tool bar will allow you quick access to many of the one-click powerful tools this site offers.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Teaching with Evernote

Check out this awesome link to see how this 6th and 8th grade teacher uses Evernote to share information with students, for research and labs, and for extending the classroom beyond school walls.  AWESOME!  How are you using Evernote in your classroom?

How to bookmark a site using the Diigo toolbar. (as easy as pie)

Check this out! Here is the simple process of saving a great site to your Diigo account. Stay tuned. The next exciting edition will show you how to find the sites you have saved to your account.

How to sign up for a Diigo account.

Watch this video for a quick explanation on the sign up process for Diigo. Don't forget the final step is clicking a link in your email.

How is this STEM?

I came home to this package the other night. Two feet by four feet and it weighs seventy-five pounds. If you Google the name you will see...