#81: Problem Solving Board

Have students teach each other the 25 most common techie problems. They learn how to solve the problem and teach the class as a presentation, then answer questions. They will feel accomplished and tech savvy.

If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.

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Happy Memorial Day

I’m taking the day to honor our soldiers. Without their sacrifice, where would we be? Read more »

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Great List of EdTech Tools

Alice Keeler is sharing a Google Doc of favorite educator tech tools. It’s crowdsourced, so view, add to it, come away richer thanks to your online colleagues:

Link to the crowdsourced list.

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15 Memorial Day Websites for Students

american-20835_640Memorial Day is the time we remember all of those soldiers (and anyone in the Armed Forces) who gave their lives in the defense of American freedom. In war and peace, they made the ultimate sacrifice, and because of them we are privileged to live the American Dream.

Once a year, we honor them, their sacrifice, and those they left behind. Here are some activities to help students understand the import of this day:

  1. In Flanders Field--poem
  2. Memorial Day Messages, Speeches, Oaths, Poems, Anthems, and images
  3. Memorial Day Poems
  4. Memorial Day Poetry–poems
  5. Memorial Day Prayer
  6. Memorial Day puzzle I
  7. Memorial Day Puzzle II
  8. Memorial Day DigitPuzzle
  9. Memorial Day Quiz
  10. Memorial Day Word Search
  11. Primary source recollections of War
  12. Quotes about Memorial Day/Wars
  13. Remember our Warriors
  14. Who you are remembering–Americans killed in action

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#101: Don’t Print Homework–Email it!

By third grade, students can email their homework to you rather than turn in all those pesky hard copies. No more lost work, no more dog-ate-their-homework, no more blaming their mom. They can use their own account or a parents. Once they learn how, it is automatic–and they love doing it this way.Here’s the lesson:

If the lesson plan is blurry, click for a full size alternative.

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5 Must-have tools for Ed Conferences

digital note-takingIt’s summer, time for teachers to recharge their cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like ISTE and NEA to learn how the heck to integrate technology into their lesson plans. If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what you should bring. That’s a fair questions considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. Now, you might be asked to scan a QR code and visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter. Besides a toothbrush and aspirin, what should you take to your upcoming conference? Here are five tools that will make you look and act like the Diva of Digital:

Google Maps

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees (ISTE last year had about 15,000), your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Bring the latest version of the Google Maps app on your smartphone or iPad, complete with audio directions. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions, and Siri (the voice behind the iPhone) will lock into your GPS and hold your hand the entire way. If friends are looking for a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts near the conference, Google Maps will find one. If you want Chinese, use an app like Yelp to find one patrons like (although I’m becoming a tad leery about Yelp. Anyone have a good alternative?)

Conference App

Most educational conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are manipulating digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straight-forward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.

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Tech Tip #105: Create Shortkeys for Windows Tools

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: I love the Windows snipping tool, but it takes too long to get to. Is there a shortkey for it?

A: Oddly, there isn’t, which is why I didn’t use it for a long time. I want a screen capture that’s instantaneous. Jing is even too slow for me (though I tolerate it because of all its cool annotations.

Then I discovered how to create a shortkey for Snipping Tool:

  • Go to Start–accessories
  • Right click on ‘snipping tool’
  • Select ‘properties’
  • Click in ‘shortcut’
  • Push the key combination you want to use to invoke the snipping tool. In my case, I used Ctrl+Alt+S
  • Save

Now all I have to do is remember the shortkey!

BTW, this works for any tool.

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How to Compare and Contrast Authentically

compare contrastTo students, knowing how to ‘compare and contrast’ sounds academic, not real world, but we teachers know most of life is choosing between options. The better adults are at this skill, the more they thrive in the world.

Common Core Standards recognize the importance of this skill by addressing it in over 29 Standards, at every grade level from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Here’s a partial list:

Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. (K-5 and 6-12 Reading Anchor Standards)

With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories and With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (K Reading Standards–2)
Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories and Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (1st grade Reading Standards–2)

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21st Century School — How Technology Is Changing Education

21st C 1The technological advances of the past two decades have changed the world, and education is no exception. Today’s students have access to far more knowledge than their parents once found in encyclopedias and on maps. With the click of a mouse and without leaving the classroom, they can access the collective knowledge of all mankind via the Internet.

But that’s not the only way technology is making it easier for students to learn. Technology is facilitating communication between students and teachers, fostering increased engagement through educational games, and making it easier than ever for non-traditional students to attend university for the first time or get the credentials they need to advance in their field or switch careers.

Students who use technology in the classroom perform better, and emerge from their educations better prepared for the challenges of adult life.

Technology in the Classroom Keeps Kids in School, Helps Them Learn

On the primary and high-school levels, schools that successfully integrate technology into their classrooms see increased performance, better behavior from students, and lowered drop-out rates.

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50 Economics Websites

coinsAs a passionate Economics major in college (which grew into an MBA), I find Econ at the root of much of the world around us. It starts with counting coins in first grade and grows up to a peek into NASDAQ and other adult subjects in middle school.

These websites cover kindergarten (counting money) through elementary (economics for youngers) through Middle School:

Coins and Counting Money

  1. Brain Pop Learn about Money
  2. Cash Out
  3. Coin Counting
  4. Coin games—from US Mint
  5. Count Money
  6. Counting Money
  7. Face on money
  8. Face on money–from Lunapic; lots of options
  9. Make change
  10. Money—counting
  11. Moneyville
  12. Money Flashcards–APlus Math
  13. Mr. Bouncy’s Money collection–lots of websites
  14. Piggy Bank
  15. US Mint virtual tour (a slideshow)

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