Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

The Easter Resources Collection: Part VII

March24

Hop on over and check out a recently updated collection of Easter resources that can be utilized to bring some holiday learning and fun into your classroom. So, whether you’re in need of some lessons that contain a spiritual theme, or maybe you’re just looking for some seasonal fun, there’s a little something, something for everyone.

» NEW! An Easter-themed breakout game lives here.

» NEW! Check out another Easter-themed breakout game here. (This one was created specifically for elementary students.)

» NEW! The Educator’s Spin On It provides teachers with 12 Easter STEM activities for kids.

» NEW! TeacherVision can hook you up with all sorts of bunny and egg-themed lesson plans, printables, art activities and more!

» NEW! Easter brings to mind eggs, bunnies, chicks and candy—perfect topics for teaching science, graphing and creative writing! Join Education World for some spectacular activities fit perfectly for Easter fun and learning.

» NEW! Hop on over to TeachersFirst and check out a variety of Easter activities to incorporate into math classes, social studies lessons, writing workshops, and more! Activities for all grade levels included.

» Kids will not only love this egg-citing science activity, they will also learn about the cool chemical reaction that makes it happen. Check out the Easter Egg Rockets, a super cool experiment brought to you by The Stem Laboratory.

» Get your Easter on with 25 quick and fun activities from ThoughtCo.

» Need some secular and/or Easter activities and teaching ideas? A to Z Teacher Stuff has you covered!

» Lots of Easter games, puzzles, stories, crafts, poetry and more live here: Apples4theTeacher.com.

» The Busy Teacher provides educators with 64 Easter-related worksheets that can be incorporated into classroom lessons.

» Easter Teaching Resources is a Pinterest board filled with arts and crafts ideas, educational activities, and printables to help you celebrate Easter in the classroom.

» The abcteach Easter category page features hundreds of fun, educational activities for classroom or home use, including coloring pages, crafts, board games, readings, puzzles, interactives, and much more!

» Teaching Ideas offers an extensive range of ideas and resources to teach and learn about Easter—poems, stories, puzzles, curricular activities, images, banners, fonts, videos and Easter Egg Hunts.

» Poetry activities, interactive games, scavenger hunts, sequencing cards, puzzles, a variety templates and more await you on TES Connect—the largest teacher network in the world.

» Larry Ferlazzo’s Web Site of the Day is another site packed with online resources for teaching and learning about Easter and Passover. A few that stood out for me include a variety of Easter videos and articles from the History Channel, the Easter Bunny Rap, How Easter Works and Easter by the Numbers—a fun infographic about this holiday.

The Activity Village: Easter Activities has a huge selection of Easter activities to explore with elementary students, including coloring pages, printables, jokes, crafts, puzzles and more!

Brought to you by About Education: Easter Resources, this collection of 25 quick and easy Easter resources are sure to keep you and your students busy throughout this spring holiday!

» Harry Kindergarten: Check out this video entitled “The Bunny Goes Hop”, an Easter pattern song for kids, produced by my colleague, Pete Harry. (For additional educational videos and songs, visit the Harry Kindergarten YouTube channel and/or website.)

» And my favorite resource to date? A recipe for creating a really cool and yummy dessert with one of the best holiday treats money can buy! Check out Easter Peeps Casserole here. Your students (and family) will just love, love it! ♥

Classroom Connection:

Use these themed lesson plans, activities and materials to teach students about Easter and Passover.

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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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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March17

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for three free resources that will help you avoid the Internet cycle of shame when using videos in the classroom!

» ViewPure

A favorite tool of mine! Use this resource to watch YouTube videos without any other distractions—ads, pop-ups and comments. Plus, no additional videos will automatically play once yours has ended. Another cool feature is the bookmarklet that can be installed, which saves users several steps. (See my full blog post about this tool here.)

» SafeShare.tv

Like ViewPure, this web tool reduces ads and other unwanted distractions so that videos can be viewed safely. Simply copy/paste the URL of the YouTube or Vimeo video into the tool, and this will generate a SafeView containing only the video and some basic controls (i.e. start/end position).

A Chrome extension and mobile app that automatically removes search ads, pop-ups and banners from YouTube, Facebook and everywhere else on the web. An excellent resource to install on computers where students might be using the Internet for research and/or other purposes.

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

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Get Your Edtech Game On with the March Madness Challenge!

March12

Are you ready for some March Madness—edtech style? Then read on to learn how you can make “IT” (Instructional Technology) R.E.A.L. for your students!

How in the world are basketball and education even remotely related, you ask? Well, for some teachers, determining how to best integrate technology into a lesson can be as overwhelming as picking a winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just like there’s a science to determining the odds of a #16 seed knocking off the #1 pick, there’s an equally logical rationale behind deciding what type of technology will most effectively impact the learning process.

The Great Tool Debate

With a myriad of web tools and apps available to teachers, it’s sometimes mind-boggling trying to identify which are the most effective for classroom usage. With educational resources spanning from audio recordings to collages, comics, posters, digital books, narrated slideshows, movies, animations and screen casts, there’s never a shortage when it comes to innovative ways to showcase student knowledge and skills. Seriously, if you can imagine creating it–whatever “it” might be, there’s… Yep, you guessed it! An app for that! Actually, there’s most likely two or three or nine of them…at least! So, the burning questions become which one should a teacher choose? And most importantly, why?

The End Game

If the game plan is to integrate technology for the sake of doing so—as opposed to infusing devices and tools to create meaningful learning experiences that are connected to real-world experiences, then expect an upset in the opening round. Instead, the quest for a championship should focus on pedagogy and strategy, not the tool.  

That said, there’s no official selection committee in the ed tech world; however, much like the job of an NCAA representative, the teacher’s role is to ensure the learning resource meets a certain set of criteria. The content, design, and testimonials are all important to consider, but only after the purpose of the integration has been clearly determined. Always ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish and why? Does the learning outcome support the curriculumAnd in the end, will the students come away with something “real” that will teach them a new skill or knowledge that will stick?

By carefully reflecting upon these questions, teachers can ensure that technology is not the main event, but instead just part of the process that enhances the curriculum. This way of thinking and planning will lead to students acquiring the modern-day information literacy skills that are necessary to compete in a high-tech global marketplace.

Tech-knowledge-y Matters!

Representing the schools of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication, here are 14 slam dunks for incorporating a digital activity into the classroom lineup. One of these buzzer beaters from the ed tech playbook are sure to make the highlight film! 

Brack-tech-ology Infographic

Click here to view and/or download a high resolution version of this infographic.

The R.E.A.L. Deal

During your next lesson, challenge students to complete one or more of the activities shown on the poster to see who becomes a champion of your unit of study. You’ll be surprised at the real-life tech skills they’ll pick up along the way while engaging with your learning goals.

Relevant… Engaging… Authentic… Lifelong… The way instructional technology should be!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March11

Need some activities to ignite your math lessons? Then be sure to check out this week’s lineup of new Diigo bookmarks, sites that can be used to reinforce all sorts of math concepts!

» Boxed Rockets

A collection of math questions based on number, ratio and algebra concepts. Select a topic (or series of them), solve the problems and then check work with the built-in answer keys. An excellent independent practice or station rotation resource!

» SolveMe Puzzles

Explore. Deduce. Create! Use logic to solve visual, interactive mathematical puzzles in several categories: Algebra, visual, word and draggable.

» MathsBot.com

A comprehensive selection of tools for math teachers—including manipulatives, printables, interactives, question generators and more!

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

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Grab a Piece of the Pi Using Cool Classroom Resources

March8

Hey, math gurus! It’s that time of year again when teachers, students and mathematicians from all over the world honor the fun-loving irrational Greek figure pi (π).

That’s right! March 14—or Pi Day—is just around the corner so be sure you don’t miss this opportunity to make a lasting impression on your math students with this recently updated list of digital activities!

Let’s get the party started with a brand-new resource—a super cool digital breakout game designed by Dana Gehman. Check out Pi Day here!

Next up: TeachPi.org, a one stop shop on the Web for finding and/or sharing teaching and learning ideas related to Pi Day. You name it and TeachPi.org most likely has it: Lessons, stories, music, digit games, poetry, art and even tattoos!

My favorite part of the TeachPi.org web site? A link to the original gangsta rap, “Lose Yourself (In The Digits),” a parody of the well-known Eminem hit. Check out the video below created by students at the Fort Vancouver High School using the lyrics to this song.

Here’s another fun Pi video set to the tune of “American Pie” by Don McLean.

And now for some interactive fun… Check out this multimedia sensation created by ThingLink guru Mathy Cathy containing a variety of super cool activities and info related to Pi Day.

Other great resources for teaching and learning about Pi Day include…

» Edutopia: Classroom Resources for Pi Day

» Education World: Plan a Pi Day Party

» NEA: Math Resources for Pi Day

» The Last Minute, No-Prep Pi Day Activities Booklet created by Elementary Inquiry. Especially designed for students in Grades 5-8, this Teachers Pay Teachers freebie contains a list of 10 different Pi Day activities that can be completed with no prior planning and minimal materials. Choose just one activity—or do them all for loads of Pi Day fun!

And these just in…

» Pi Day: Huge List of Pi Day Activities for All Ages

» Pi Day: A Pinterest board filled with all sorts of classroom resources.

» Math: Another Pinterest board with Pi Day activities for students of all ages.

Classroom Connection:

Use the Pi Day resources and materials to generate some enthusiasm and appreciation for mathematics. And while you’re at it, have a piece of your favorite (chocolate peanut butter) pie!

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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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Make It Real with iFakeText

February18

Yeah, we all know how much students like to text… So, why not leverage this obsession by taking advantage of a web tool like ifaketext.com, a nifty online generator that mimics the real thing. Not only is it super simple to use, but it’s a visually engaging way to allow students to demonstrate what they know in a unique way. Plus, there’s nothing quite like using one of the most popular forms of social media to grab our students’ interest and attention, right?

Utilizing ifaketext.com works something like this: After accessing the web site, just enter a name, choose a carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) and insert a conversation. Once you’re finished with these steps, click the “Submit” button and voila! An image showing the text chat as if it appeared on a smart phone is all yours. Download your masterpiece, share it via your favorite social media networks and/or embed it into your online spaces. Is that way cool or what?

Oh, and did I mention that this resource is a freebie that requires no registration? Yay!

Check out an ifaketext.com example shown below.

Classroom Connection:

ifaketext.com can be utilized in a variety of ways in any content area to allow students to practice reading and writing dialogue. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

» Conversations between two famous people, book characters, animals, friends discussing a movie or event

» Formative assessments for independent reading

» Displaying vocabulary and definitions in a fun way

» Writing prompts

» Poetry activities

In addition to these literacy activities, ifaketext.com could be used to teach students proper texting etiquette and digital responsibility.

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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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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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