Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Diigo Weekly Update

January25

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Learn It In 5

A powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today’s 21st century’s digital classroom.

» Tagul

A Web 2.0 tool that allows users to create word clouds with unique features such as words inside words, cool fonts, various cloud shapes, customizable colors, etc.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Edu-fun Friday: How to Use a Digital Tablet

January23

using a digital tabletAs Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

The funniest thing is that I’m pretty sure Miss Blanch thinks she’s all tech-ed out! Ha, ha!

 

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Turn Up the Awesome with Kid President Videos

January22

kid-presidentSometimes we just need to forget the curriculum, the standards, the test prep and interject some fun, some inspiration, some motivation into our daily routines. Well, I can’t think of a better way to do so than via the super popular Kid President videos.

This YouTube sensation, the brainstorm of Brad Montague—one based on the belief that kids have voices that can change the world—features the uniquely humorous yet meaningful words of wisdom from ten year old Robby Novak. Ironically, Robby has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone condition which has resulted in him having over 70 breaks since birth. But despite life’s struggles, Robby not only keeps going—he dances as well because after all, “It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.”

Check out an example of a Kid President video shown below. This particular one—entitled “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You”—is one of my all-time favorites. The message not only encourages viewers to create something that will make the world awesome, but it also contains a special shout out to teachers and students. ♥

Classroom Connection:

OK, so like I said, the best way I personally believe the Kid President videos can be utilized is to break one out one of these gems when you feel the need to share some encouragement with your students—or colleagues for that matter. We recently began featuring a select video during our morning announcements program in the middle school, and our students love, love them.

Of course, if you want to go beyond just showing the video, follow-up with a class or small group discussion and/or a writing response to the particular message that was promoted. The Pinterest Board located here has some really neat ideas that could be modified to suit your needs.

You could even inspire your students to create their own motivational video as well. Now that would be awesome!

So, what are you waiting for? Get your learnin’ on and make some history. I’m out…

Happy 49th Anniversary to my really swell parents… Love you guys! ♥

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Do You Rubric? A Useful Infographic for Educators

January20

rubrics-cubeRubrics… You know, those scoring guides that assist teachers with objectively evaluating student work. These same tools also provide teachers with a consistent framework using specific criteria to determine if and how learning objectives are achieved and skills are mastered. On the flip side, rubrics demystify the grading process for students by clearly stating, in age-appropriate terminology, the expectations of an assignment.

Regardless of whether or not you utilize rubrics, the must-see infographic shown below offers some pretty compelling rationale for promoting and/or reinforcing the implementation of this concept into every classroom.

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Basically, rubrics can make the life of an educator simpler. Rather than adding an arbitrary grade to an assignment, rubrics streamline the scoring process by eliminating the guess work that is sometimes associated with determining the quality of project based assessments. Although they are very valuable and worthwhile tools, creating rubrics can be a challenging and tedious task.

That said, check out some of these really cool and useful digital tools that can assist educators in the development of rubrics. Not only can they be downloaded for future use, but they can be shared with others as well. Many of these sites also offer pre-made templates and examples that can be tweaked to suit your academic needs.

And then there’s the must-see Kathy Schrock’s Assessments and Rubrics page, a one stop shop for all things rubrics including tons of general and subject specific rubrics for all grade levels!

A huge shout out to Mia Macmeekin for creating and sharing another useful educational resource! Your infographics are the bomb! A special thanks also goes out to GoPixPic for the use of the rubrics image!

Classroom Connection:

Use the infographic as a guide to help explain why teachers should utilize rubrics to assess student assignments and projects. Utilize the tools mentioned to get the job done!

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Diigo Weekly Update

January18

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized in your classroom throughout the year!

» Infogr.am

An online infographics generator that can be utilized to visually communicate data and engage students with content. Even better, give your students access to this cool tool and let them tell their own stories!

» SquiggleMark

A free application that can be utilized to watermark and resize multiple pictures simultaneously.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Edu-fun Friday: Virtual Discipline?

January16

Image-1As Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

Just imagine the impact if the principal is not very tech savvy! Ha, ha!

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Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

January15

take a leap of faithJust one example of the many words of wisdom spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr., pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of this great man on the upcoming federal holiday established in his honor, don’t miss the opportunity to share some MLK information with your students so they can learn about the role he played in shaping our country’s culture and history.

As you might imagine, there are tons of teaching and learning resources available online, but out of all of them, I highly recommend the video “My Friend Martin”, especially if you teach middle school students. It’s a cool mix of animation and actual black and white video footage that is extremely effective and captivating—one that can be used as a springboard to discuss Dr. King and his accomplishments. The use of kid lingo and voice overs from famous actors such as Whoopie Goldberg and LaVar Burton as well encouraging messages about  how one person can make a difference by standing up for what is right even when it’s difficult makes this video a perfect choice for the classroom!

Even though I’ve seen the video dozens of times, it’s still my all-time favorite MLK educational resource. Check it out below!

Additional Resources:

» Martin Luther King, Jr.: A one stop shop for all things MLK—articles, videos, images and speeches. The History Channel has it all!

» Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Help students put in perspective Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, his impact on the Civil Rights Movement, and his significance to American culture and history via this NEA resource.

» Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle for Civil Rights with these lesson plans and multimedia resources from Scholastic.

» MLK, Jr. Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides: The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Racial and Social Justice: A Curriculum for Empowerment is a teacher’s resource guide that provides activities for students in kindergarten through eighth grade to explore the rich history of the civil rights movement and the persona of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

» Martin Luther King, Jr. Resources for Teachers: Check out quizzes, biographies, and various activities to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. on this TeacherVision site.

» Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Join Education World this January to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. The resource page includes articles, lesson ideas, books, activities and much more!

» Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King, Jr.: A comprehensive list of MLK resources.

Classroom Connection:

Use the Our Friend, Martin video and the other resources mentioned to teach students about the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Create Captivating Image Effects with PhotoFunia

January13

photofunia Looking for a way to add some coolness and originality to digital pictures? Then PhotoFunia, a fun and free online photo editing tool, is the ideal resource for you—and your students! Whether you want to see your portrait on the cover of a magazine, the billboards of Times Square or on the walls of the Louve—or maybe you just want to make your own mark in the sand, write graffiti text on a wall or create a customized road sign—either way, a myriad of effects and filters are waiting for you on this fantastic site!

Aside from hundreds of ways to pimp out your photos, did I mention how simple PhotoFunia is to use? Yep, you don’t even need a bunch of high-tech image editing skills in order to utilize and enjoy this application. Oh, and guess what? There is no registration or software download of any type necessary to get started. Just select the desired template, upload your photo(s), and after a few clicks, your very own work of art is ready in an instant. Depending on the filter chosen, users have several download options in order to save images for future use.

You can even have tons of fun on the go anywhere, anytime by utilizing one of the PhotoFunia mobile apps that are available for virtually any device.

Sound too good to be true? You might think so, but not so much. As the name implies, this tech tool makes tweaking photos a lot of fun! And it’s pretty impressive as well, especially for a freebie!

Check out a few of my favorite effects shown below…

Ever wondered what’s it like to be a rockstar? Project a picture of you and your students on a huge screen in front of your loyal fans by taking center stage with this fun concert effect.

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So, you wake up in the morning and a newspaper is waiting for you. Look! One of your students made the headlines!

PhotoFunia-56bb3ca

Create your own vintage stamp effect by uploading a few of your favorite student photos.

PhotoFunia-56befa3

I’m sure your students have dreamed of starring in a hit TV show? Find out what they would look like with this nifty retro TV Prisoner effect.

PhotoFunia-56c7698

Leave a personalized message on a foggy window.

PhotoFunia-56c160f

 Classroom Connection:

Give students the opportunity to use the PhotoFunia effects and filters to design captivating supplementary materials that add a creative edge to any project or presentation that requires the use of an image to convey an idea or concept:  Digital stories, reports, posters, advertisements, comic strips, blogs, wikis and much more!

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Diigo Weekly Update

January11

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized in your classroom in the new year!

» MentorMob

A user-friendly and visual tool for creating and curating digital playlists that include articles, videos, web sites and more!

» The Story Starter

A Web 2.0 tool that randomly generates story starters that can be used for short stories, novels, plays, scripts or just for fun. Great for writers of all ages!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Edu-fun Friday: Teacher New Year’s Resolutions

January9

teacher-resolutions-10-snow-dayAs Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

OK, so I don’t pray for snow days (sometimes), but I do frequently wish for two hour delays! Is that pathetic?

If you enjoy this meme, then you should definitely check out nine other Teacher New Year’s Resolutions here. A shout out to the Pensive Sloth for the giggles!

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Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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