Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

The Periodic Table of iPad Apps: Volume II

March23

Need to pimp out your iPad with some pretty amazing apps for enhancing teaching and learning? Then check out this fun (and recently updated) infographic containing a variety of resources that can be utilized in the classroom. They are categorized in areas such as creativity, demonstrating, computing, collaboration, numeracy, literacy and more! And better yet—the majority of these apps are totally free!

As you check out this super cool resource, remember… It’s never just about the apps. Instead effective technology integration is all about how tools support curricular goals in a meaningful, relevant, student-centered manner. With that said, hopefully this compilation of tried and tested educational apps will be helpful as you try to determine which ones might be the most beneficial for you and your students.

Click here to view and/or download a high resolution file of this image, which was created and compiled by the amazing ICT Evangelist Mark Anderson.

H-appy exploring!

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Join the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge!

March4
Hey, edtech gurus! Are you ready to expand your professional learning network (PLN) while learning how to effectively utilize a super popular social media platform? If so, I am calling upon you to join 40+ Bellwood-Antis School District educators in the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge!

Check out the details below about the first event of its kind in my school—one that is being organized by yours truly!

WHO: Any educator who would like to learn how to use Twitter as a professional development tool. It would be super cool to have participants tweet with us!

WHAT: The Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge (In case you missed that one!)

WHEN: The challenge kicks off on Monday, March 5, 2018.

WHERE: It’s online so you can tag along on your favorite device from anywhere in the universe!

WHY: Become a connected educator and learn more than you can imagine about any educational topic that interests you!

HOW: Check out the digital flyer embedded below to become the next participant. (The full screen version of the newsletter lives here!)

Personalization…Relevant…Fun!  Take charge of your PD starting on March 5!

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, follow the action at #BDNPLN!

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Get Lucky with Some St. Patrick’s Day Magnetic Poetry

March3

If you’re looking for a fun activity to complete with your students this St. Patrick’s Day, then all you’ve got to do is snag a copy of my holiday-themed magnetic poetry activity!

Here it is: A Google Slides activity containing 60+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled holiday poem, story, etc.

As with my other creations, the word boxes are actually images and cannot be edited; however, they can be deleted. Plus, additional words can be generated by creating a new text box and filling it with a white background.

Before you get started on your March adventure, here are a few additional items worth knowing:

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it, but it can still be changed if you wish to allow them to do so. Just right-click on the slide and select the “Change background…” option.

» Some teachers have requested that I provide a word list for each activity so I have created additional slides that include this info.

Check out a sneak preview below!

St.PatricksDayMagneticPoetry

Click here to access the template. You will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original and save it to your Google Drive. It can then be easily shared with students—especially if you’re using Google Classroom.

Classroom Connection:

The St. Patrick’s Day Magnetic Poetry template can be used in a variety of ways as either an independent or collaborative writing activity. Utilize the “magnets” included and/or add your own text boxes to extend the activity—although I think part of the challenge is to use the words provided.

A shout out to Kasey Bell for inspiring me to create my own version of magnetic poetry. And a high five goes to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create this activity. ♥

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The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Going for the Gold!

February16

For sports fans like me—and many of our students—the next few weeks will be an exciting time as we cheer on our favorite skiers, skaters and bobsledders to the gold medal stand during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea! I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to get enough!

That said, why not capitalize on the Olympic hype by using the educational activities listed below to tap into your students’ interests as they discuss and/or learn about one of the most celebrated sporting venues of all time.

» PyeongChang 2018: The official web site of the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games… Stayed tuned in to all of the latest info related to the Games of the XXIII Olympiad.

» NBC PyeongChang 2018: You won’t want to miss the unprecedented coverage of the Winter Games via live TV as well as top news, highlights and related stories located on NBC’s site dedicated to the 2018 Olympics.

» The Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) Toolkit: A set of free resources designed to enrich any educational curriculum with Olympic-themed activities, teaching strategies and inspirational materials.

» Teaching the Winter Olympics Across the Curriculum: For two weeks this month, the world’s attention will focus on PyeongChang, South Korea, to marvel at the incredible athletics performed at the 2018 Winter Olympics. This teaching resource—developed by the New York Times Learning Network—suggests a variety of ways teachers across subject areas can turn the Olympics into learning experiences for their students.

» Countdown to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games: The Winter Olympic Games is a “teachable moment” that comes along only once every four years, so the Education World team has gathered lesson ideas to help educators teach to the moment.Included are lessons to teach history, vocabulary, decimals, sportsmanship and more!

» 15 Tech Tidbits To Bring the 2018 Winter Olympic Into Your Classroom: Educators have a terrific opportunity to expand their students’ learning during the Olympics. The games provide excellent moments to teach them about many subjects, including history, science, physical education and social studies. Find out how this can be done via this article sponsored by the School Library Journal.

» The Winter Olympics: ReadWriteThink offers teachers a variety of lessons and activities centered on the 2018 PyeongChang Games to engage K-12 students.

» 2018 Winter Olympics Classroom Activities and Resources: Stepping outside of medal tally mathematics and the symbolism of the Olympic rings, what can kids learn from the Olympics? The folks at Teach Starter say, lots! This page lists just a few things you can explore with your students during the 2018 Winter Games.

» The Best Sites for Learning About the PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Compiled by Larry Ferlazzo, this comprehensive site contains links to some of the best Olympic resources on the web!

» 2018 Winter Olympics: A Pinterest board filled with all things Olympics—STEM Challenges, BreakoutEDU activities, videos, games, bulletin board and more!

» 12 Olympic Lessons & Classroom Activities: Check out some teacher-favorite, Olympics-inspired lesson ideas, classroom management techniques and fun classroom activites from TeachHUB.com.

» Olympics Lessons and Teacher Resources: Tons of lesson plan ideas to learn about the Olympic Games from HotChalk.

» The Perseus Digital Library Project: An exhibit that can be used to compare ancient and modern-day Olympic sports. Visitors can also tour the site of Olympia as it looks today, learn about the context of the Games and the Olympic spirit and/or read about the Olympic athletes who were famous in ancient times.

» Olympic Challenge: A collaborative project in which students (or schools) can compete against one another in a series of Olympic themed challenges. This site is actually based on the 2012 Summer Olympics, but the activities can be adapted accordingly. Since the challenges were tech-related, I thought they were too cool not to share!

Classroom Connection:

If you have a few minutes in the day to light the Olympic torch, use these teaching and learning resources to guide the way to medal-winning lessons.

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Love Me Some Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry

February7

All you need is love… And a copy of my Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry activity!

So, here it is: A Google Slides activity containing 60+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled holiday poem, story, etc.

As with my other creations, the word boxes are actually images and cannot be edited; however, they can be deleted. Plus, additional words can be generated by creating a new text box and filling it with a white background.

Before you get started on your February adventure, here are a few additional items worth mentioning:

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it, but it can still be changed if you wish to allow them to do so. Just right-click on the slide and select the “Change background…” option.

» Some teachers have requested that I provide a word list for each activity so I have created additional slides that include this info.

Check out a sneak preview below!

ValentinesDayMagneticPoetry

Click here to access the template. You will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original and save it to your Google Drive. It can then be shared with your students.

Here’s an example of what students can create using the template:

Valentine's Day Magnetic Poetry - Maliah Hassler

Here’s a mashup of fifth grade students working on the activity:

Valentine's Day Magnetic Poetry Collage

Classroom Connection:

The Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry template can be used in a variety of ways as either an independent or collaborative writing activity. Utilize the “magnets” included and/or add your own text boxes to extend the activity—although I think part of the fun/challenge is to just use the words provided.

A high five to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create the word boxes for the slide. And a shout out to Kasey Bell for inspiring me to create my own version of magnetic poetry. ♥

Stay tuned for another Magnetic Poetry template coming to your Google Drive in the very near future…

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Teaching & Learning Resources to Remember the Life of MLK

January14

martin luther king jr collage“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

This quote epitomizes why I have always admired Martin Luther King, Jr. As a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, he not only advocated for the equal treatment of our fellow man, but he also supported the fair and humane treatment of animals—a personal passion of mine as a rescuer, adopter, foster and sponsor of shelter and puppy mill dogs.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor this great man. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near King’s birthday (January 15). Depending on your school calendar, you may have or had the day off.

But when students return next week, don’t miss the opportunity to share some MLK information with them so they can learn about the life and legacy of this true American hero. 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 and 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!

For additional educational resources Martin Luther King, Jr., be sure to access Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King, Jr. page.

Classroom Connection:

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

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Get Your New Year On!

January1

Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy, sparkly, shiny, brand spankin’ new year from Edutech for Teachers!

Once again, here’s my annual reminder encouraging you to take advantage of the opportunity you have to enjoy 12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of love, 8,760 hours of success and 51,536,000 seconds of learning that can be used to inspire others in your sphere of influence!

Regardless of where your personal and professional journey takes you, I hope it’s one of the best ever!

Live, love and laughter… Namaste! ♥

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I Can’t Even: My Christmas Be Like…

December8

In case you missed out on the why I have been generating these “I Can’t Even…” videos, check it out here. Otherwise, skip the read and scroll down the page for my latest episode. Hopefully you’ll get a good laugh… Maybe you’ll feel my pain… And hopefully you’ll share the love with others via your social media channels. After all, laughter is an instant vacation!

So here it is… Just in time for the holidays—My Christmas be like…

Stay tuned for additional edtech sarcasm… In the meantime, don’t worry… Be happy!

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The 12 Digital Days of Christmas 2017: Tech Treasure #1

December3

thinglink santa hat2 transGet ready to “Tech the Halls” with my 6th annual 12 Digital Days of Christmas, a collection of digital treasures featuring Thinglink and a dozen fun and festive resources that are sure to spread some holiday cheer in your classroom.

So, starting today and continuing for eleven additional days before the holiday break begins, this Geeky Girl will share one Christmas activity that can be utilized with your students.

The 2017 adventure begins by hovering over the interactive image below to reveal Tech Treasure #1: The North Pole, a comprehensive holiday site that has it all for educators, students and parents—dozens of games, activities, stories, crafts and more—all related to Santa’s visit on December 25.

I’ve actually shared this resource in past Christmas playlists—three times actually, so to maintain tradition, I’m highlighting this award-winning site again as it includes more than enough activities to keep students busy until the holiday break. That said, if you’ve somehow missed this gem along the way, be sure to check it out this time around!

The NorthPole.com promotes a traditional look at Santa’s Secret Village, but with high-tech, creative features to keep students entertained—all for free. For example, check out the Elf Clubhouse for online games and activities including checkers with Santa, Trim the Tree, crossword puzzles, word searches, concentration, and mazes.

But free games are only the beginning of the fun your students can have at the NorthPole.com. Play Winter flash games, watch cool Christmas movies and cartoons at the North Pole Arcade, chat with some of Santa’s helpers and/or read stories about your favorite elf.

All of this and more awaits you and your students at the NorthPole.com! So, push the papers and pencils aside for a few minutes and celebrate one of the most exciting and magical times of the year by accessing this site. Just hover over The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas Thinglink interactive image shown below to get started on your holiday journey!

The full screen version of this interactive image can be accessed here.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources embedded within the interactive image to have some fun celebrating the best holiday of the year!

In case you might be interested in checking out my 12 Digital Days of Christmas collections from previous years, here you go:

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas I

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas II

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas III

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas IV

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas V

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ♥ ~The Grinch #somuchmore

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Get Your Hour of Code On!

December2

Did you know that computer science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average? Yep, it has been projected that by the year 2020 there will 1,000,000 more jobs than there are students to fill them!

And that’s because although we live in a world surrounded by technology, only a small fraction of us learn computer science, the basics of how computers work, or how to create software, apps or web sites. Computer Science provides a foundation for virtually any career and everybody can benefit from learning the basics.

So, as an educator, what can you do to help address this issue? For starters, you can join the Hour of Code—an initiative supported by Code.org that encourages schools and teachers across the globe to help introduce students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10, 2017. This event is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities. This grassroots campaign is supported by over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.

Need some resources to make the Hour of Code happen in your space? Besides Code.org, the following sites are also curriculum providers for the Hour of Code: Tynker, Khan AcademyCodecademy and Code Avengers.

Another noteworthy place to snag some really nifty resources is Let’s Start Coding. This company has developed a series of kits and toys that teach students to code via hands-on examples and step-by-step guides. My Tech Club students have been experimenting with one of the base kits throughout this school year, and they love, love it!

Let’s Start Coding joins other organizations who have created free introductory coding activities that have been approved by the Hour of Code staff. Their totally cool Code Car Simulator allows students in Grades 4-12 to type real C++ code that controls the lights and buttons of a car-shaped circuit board via following seven guided lessons. The lessons allow students to blink lights and manipulate buttons on an on-screen circuit board. It’s a must-see so be sure to check it out!

This super cool activity—and so much more await you and your students right here, right now! There’s seriously more info than you’ll even know what to do with! #ForReal

Classroom Connection:

The founders of Google, Microsoft and Facebook all started their journeys with just one line of code. Like these successful entrepreneurs, our students should have the opportunity to create the technology of the future, not just use it! That said, join millions of students in 33,000 classrooms across 167 countries as they venture into the language of coding by participating in the Hour of Code.

Not only does coding help students learn problem solving and creative thinking skills, it teaches them to be risk-takers, persistent and to persevere in the face of frustration—skills that are relevant in all sorts of other activities in both school and the “real world”.

I realize that coding sounds intimidating to some, but the activities on the Code.org site require no computer programming skills at all. If your students can type, they can code! And you can learn, too!

And by the way—Although the official Hour of Code takes place during the first week of December each year, you can host an Hour of Code all year round. #winning

Here’s to your coding adventure! #kidsdeserveit

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

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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