21 Great Websites and Apps for Earth Day

earth dayApril 22nd is Earth Day. Celebrate it with your students by letting them visit these websites:

  1. Breathing Earth
  2. Breathing Earth YouTube Video–of CO2 use, population changes, and more
  3. Conservation Game
  4. Earth day collection
  5. Earth Day—NASA Ocean Currents
  6. Eco-friendly house
  7. Eeko World
  8. Ecotourism Simulation–for grades 4 and above
  9. Electrocity
  10. Footprint calculator
  11. Home of the Future
  12. My Garbology
  13. NASA City

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Categories: Geography, Websites | Tags: , | 1 Comment

5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology

Technology plays an important role in the classroom. Teachers can apply technology to help students learn through intered techactive games and simulations, or by taking advantage of educational resources online. Technology can facilitate communication and collaboration between students and between students and their teacher.

Students who develop a strong familiarity with technology in the classroom are better-equipped to remain proficient users of new technologies throughout their lives.

But in order to help students make the most of technology, teachers need to stay on top of it themselves. That can be challenging, especially for teachers who may have finished their own educations when the technological advances of the past 15 to 20 years were still in their infancy.

You can brush up on your tech skills by earning an advanced degree focused on helping you effectively integrate technology into your classroom, but you can’t just rest on your laurels. Changes are happening rapidly, and you need to keep abreast of them by staying informed, working with up-to-date devices and software as much as possible, and surrounding yourself with folks who are passionate about new technologies.

1. Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Industry Trends

One of the best ways to keep your tech know-how up-to-date is to make it a point to stay current on industry trends. As the year draws to a close, search your favorite web browser for expected tech trends for the year to come. Throughout the year, you can keep tabs on which of these predictions came true by listening to tech podcasts during your commute or while doing chores at home.

2. Use Up-to-Date Devices at Home5 ways 2

You’ll feel more comfortable with new technologies if you use them regularly, so make a point of updating your own devices as often as you can. When you go to school online for an advance education degree, like a Master of Education in Instructional Design and Technology, you’ll learn how to make the most of tablets, computers, laptops, smart phones, and even newer technologies like smart watches or wearable fitness trackers. Visit big box stores regularly and browse through their electronics sections to see what’s new.

3. Surround Yourself with Technophiles

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#74: Mastering Excel (for Beginners)

There are 22 common Excel skills easy enough for fourth and fifth graders. When they’re done, they–and their parents (and you, by the way)–will feel that they’ve accomplished much more.

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

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Categories: Excel, Freebies/Discounts, Lesson plans | Leave a comment

11 Ways to Wrap Up the School Year

end of school yearIt’s the end of school. Everyone’s tired, including you. What you want for these last few weeks are activities that keep the learning going, but in a different way. You want to shake things up so students are excited and motivated and feel interested again.

Change your approach to teaching. Provide some games, simulations, student presentations–whatever you don’t normally do in your classroom. If you’re doing PowerPoints, use the last few weeks for presentations.  Make them special–invite teachers. Invite parents. If you never serve food in your lab, do it for these presentations.

Here are five of my favorite year-end Change-up activities:

6 Webtools in 6 Weeks

Give students a list of 10-15 webtools that are age-appropriate. I include Prezi, Google MapMaker, Scratch, Voice Thread, Glogster, and Tagxedo, These will be tools they don’t know how to use (and maybe you don’t either). They work in groups to learn the tool (using help files, how-to videos, and resources on the site), create a project using the tool (one that ties into something being discussed in class), and then teach classmates. Challenge students to notice similarities between their chosen tools and others that they know how to use. This takes about three weeks to prepare and another three weeks to present (each presentation takes 20-30 minutes). Students will be buzzing with all the new material and eager to use it for summer school or the next year.

Designed for grades 3-12. Need ideas on web tools? Contact me at askatechteacher@gmail.com.

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Summer Keyboarding Class for Students

Summer is coming, and so is Summer Keyboarding for Students! If your students are looking for a summer keyboarding class to smooth out their rough edges, prepare them for next year’s increased tech demands, or get them started, this is the program for them. It’s online, one hour a day M-F for three weeks, with a wide variety of activities that keep keyboarding fun and challenging. All the details are below.

Note: Early Bird special for those who sign up by May 31st. Use coupon code SUMMERPD to get 10% off!

Sign up now–

  • it’s all online, but includes 1:1 attention so space is limited
  • you get lots of the materials as soon as you sign up. Take from now until June 22nd to review them, use them in your end-of-year and next-year planning

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Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 8th grade, Keyboarding | Leave a comment

11 Sites to Teach You How To…

online trainingA wide variety of topics, with one thing in common–they teach you about technology in education:

  1. Common Core training–the Hunt Institute
  2. Common Craft--videos on wikis, phishing, etc.
  3. How-to videos–technology, reading, math, more
  4. How to Videos for Web 2.0
  5. Internet Movie Database
  6. K-8 school-related videos. Tons 
  7. Learn Zillion—teaching videos
  8. Teacher Training Videos   
  9. Teaching Channel
  10. YouTube Education
  11. YouTube Pure—removes comments

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Categories: Freebies/Discounts, Online education, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Summer Tech Camp–Everything You Need

summer tech camp

by AATT banner

Summer Tech Camp Survival Kit

From Ask a Tech Teacher

Are you teaching a Summer Tech Camp to Kids? We have the solution:

Build Your Own Adventure

$230 value for $179

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Categories: Classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, Lesson plans, Subscriber special, Teacher resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

Google Hangouts–Are You Using Them Yet?

google hangoutClasstime traditionally is a static point in time. Students show up in your room. You teach for 50 minutes (or however long the period is). You may post study guides and homework on a class website, but they don’t make a lot of sense to the student who missed class because s/he was sick or out of town. Those students—you try to meet after school to catch them up, which may or may not work with your schedule or theirs. Or they get notes from friends which also may or may not work.

That has become a dated idea. Let me give you an example. My daughter invited me to participate in one of her MBA classes at the University of Maryland (with instructor permission). I’m in California; she’s in DC. Five years ago, that would have been a show-stopper, but not anymore. She broadcast the class on her iPad with her Google Hangouts (GHO) app, sent me an invite, and that’s it. I saw everything she did. When her professor accessed an internet program, I brought it up on my computer and worked along with him. When he played a TED talk, I listened on my screen. When I had a question, I typed it into the backchannel (a message board that pops up with GHO) and my daughter asked for me (since I was observing, I muted my mic).

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3 Apps That Encourage Students to Read

readingReading is defined as “the action or skill of absorbing written or printed matter silently or aloud.” Sounds dry, maybe even boring, but once a child learns to read, they get much more than an understanding of words, sentences, paragraphs, grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. It has been credited with providing an escape from reality, exercising the mind, saving lives, bringing people together, answering problems, and predicting success in school. It alleviates boredom in the bits of free time that pop up between soccer and dinner and it can be done alone or in a group.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends…”
― Charles William Eliot

According to Early Moments, reading is associated with the following traits:

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Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, Reading | Tags: | 3 Comments

23 Websites for Poetry Month

poetryApril is National Poetry Month. For thirty days, we celebrate the value and joy that poetry brings to our world.  According to the Academy of American Poets, the goals are:

  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry

All across the nation, school, teachers, students, libraries, and families celebrate by reading, writing, and sharing poetry. Here are fifteen websites that do all that and more. Share them with students on a class link page like the class internet start page, Symbaloo, or another method you’ve chosen to share groups of websites with students:

Acrostic Poems

From ReadWriteThink–students learn about acrostic poetry and how to write it

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