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Teacher resources

30 Great Research Websites for Kids

5880711 process cycle diagramHere are quick, safe spots to send students for research:

  1. BrainPop
  2. Citation Machine
  3. CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
  4. CyberSleuth Kids
  5. Dictionary
  6. Digital Vaults–research a topic, curate resources
  7. Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
  8. Fact Monster
  9. Fun Brain
  10. How Stuff Works
  11. I Know That!
  12. Info Please
  13. Insta-Grok
  14. Internet Library
  15. Internet Public Library (IPL)
  16. Kid Rex
  17. KidsConnect–Kids research
  18. Let me Google that for you–all those questions people ask, they could have answered themselves? Here’s a site. They even have stickers
  19. Library Spot
  20. National Geographic for Kids
  21. Nova video programs
  22. SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
  23. Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
  24. SqoolTube Videos
  25. TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
  26. Thesaurus.net
  27. Websites by kids and teens
  28. World Almanac for Kids
  29. World Book
  30. Zanran–statistics and data research

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Research, Reviews, Teacher resources, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

Subscribe to Ask a Tech Teacher–Get Monthly Gifts

FREE tech stuffIf you subscribe to Ask a Tech Teacher, you are eligible for specials on tech ed books and ebooks every month. Here are some of the specials subscribers have received:

There’s one coming up in a week–be sure to subscribe so you are eligible.

Not only do you get great deals on tech ed resources, you get great free content. If you haven’t visited Ask a Tech Teacher regularly, here’s what you’ve missed:

Questions? Email me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com. I have lots of opinions!

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

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Lesson Plans

lesson plansI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Lesson Plans

There are lots of bundles of lesson plans available–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few:

  • bundles of 5 lesson plans–These are great when you want to cover a software program, a tool, a grade, or a standard. Each calls out the higher order thinking skill engaged. Pick the one that fits your need. They’re affordable, focused, and often completed in just a few class sessions.
  • bundles of bundles–15 for about $20 (less if you use a discount coupon). Stock up! Buy three bundles of five lessons to cover a wide-range of needs.
  • 30 K-5 Common Core-aligned lessons–5 per grade level
  • 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level, and call out higher-order thinking skills. These cover everything and are discounted this month. Check them out. They could be exactly what you need.
  • singles–for as low as $1.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, and more.
  • Holiday projects–16 lesson plans that theme to holidays and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools.

Who needs this

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Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Curriculum Companions Start August 17th

curriculum companionStart date for the 2015-16 school year:

August, 17, 2015

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented via video (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, and access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

K-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months

Detail

  • Digital access: via video
  • Language: English
  • Length of time: one year
  • Access: Yearly fee covers K-5 (no discount for single wiki)

Use coupon code in each K-5 curriculum text to join for free. Or, click here to purchase.

Here’s a sample:

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Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources–Organize Your Class

digital classroomI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Organizing your classroom

Overview

18 webinars (more added as they become available), approx. 30 minutes each, show how to set up your classroom to be tech-infused.

What’s Included

Do you wonder how to set up an effective, exciting, motivating classroom to teach tech? It’s not difficult–but there are steps you must take that are different from a grade-level or subject-specific classroom. Watch these videos at the start of school and often throughout the year to understand how to integrate tech into your classes and how to help students use tech to get the most from their education adventure. Webinars included:

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Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Education reform, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

What a Typical Tech Lesson Looks Like

tech lessonIn the past few weeks, I’ve gotten several emails like this from teachers:

I am a tech teacher, going on my fifth year in the lab. Each year I plan to be more organized than the last, and most often I revert back to the “way things were.” I’m determined to run the lab just like I think it should be! … Could you please elaborate on how you run your class? I love the idea of having kids work independently, accomplishing to do lists, and working on different projects. You mention this in Volume I, but I want to hear more!

Currently, I see close to 700 students, grades 1-6. I want to break out of the routine (the “you listen, I speak, you do” routine), and your system seems like it would work well. Just hoping you can share some details.

I decided to jot down my typical (as if any planned lesson ever comes out the way it’s written–you know how that goes!) daily lesson. You can tweak it, depending upon the grade you teach. Here goes:

Typical 45-minute Lesson

Each lesson requires about 45 minutes of time, either in one sitting or spread throughout the week. Both are fine and will inform whether you unpack this lesson:

  • In the grade-level classroom
  • In the school’s tech lab

As you face a room full of eager faces, remember that you are a guide, not an autocrat. Use the Socratic Method—don’t take over the student’s mouse and click for them or type in a web address when they need to learn that skill. Even if it takes longer, guide them to the answer so they aren’t afraid of how they got there. If you’ve been doing this with students since kindergarten, you know it works. In fact, by the end of kindergarten, you saw remarkable results.

When talking with students, always use the correct domain-specific vocabulary. Emphasize it and expect students to understand it. (more…)

Categories: Classroom management, Dear Otto, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | 2 Comments

3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons

lesson planLesson planning used to mean filling in boxes on a standard form with materials, goals, expectations, assessments–details like that. Certainly this is valuable information, but today’s lesson plans–like today’s lessons–demand less rote fill-in-the-blanks and more conceptualization, critical thinking, and collaboration. With the increased reliance on online resources, Skype interviews with professionals, and hands-on learning activities, lessons are no longer taught within four walls so they shouldn’t be planned that way. They need collaboration with all stakeholders from initial planning stage to revision and rewrite.

And that paper form that was copied in triplicate–now it’s an online tool that can be accessed, edited, appended, and viewed by everyone involved. In fact, it can be one of three tools, depending upon how your brain organizes ideas:

  • mindmap–for those who love to throw everything out there on a canvas and arrange
  • online planner–for those who fill in boxes with required information and want the lesson plan to appear fully formed from these ideas
  • spreadsheet–for those who like to build from the ground up and have the lesson plan detailed and scalable–in a structured way

I’ve tried all of these and have found three favorite tools, one from each category, that work for me. Read through these, try them out, and then add a comment with what you think:

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Categories: Classroom management, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | 3 Comments

17 Take-aways from Summer PD

summer pdSummer PD 2015 just ended. A couple dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, lab teachers–gathered virtually for three weeks to experiment with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom–Google Apps, differentiation tools, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, Common Core and tech, backchannels, digital citizenship, assessment, and more (12 topics in all). It was run like a flipped classroom where class members picked 60% of daily topics, then they read, tested and experimented. Failed and tried again. Asked questions. They shared with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, Tweets.  Once a week we got together virtually (via Google Hangout or a TweetUp) to share ideas, answer questions,  and discuss nuances.

The class awarded a Certificate based on effort, not end product. Here are my takeaways as moderator of this amazing group:

  • They are risk takers. They kept trying long beyond the recommended hour a day in some cases.
  • They were curious. They wanted to get it right, see how it worked.
  • They are life long learners. Some had been teaching for thirty years and still enthusiastically embraced everything from twitter to the gamification of education.
  • They were problem solvers. I often heard, ‘if I tweak it here, I can solve this problem’.

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Categories: Education reform, Online education, Teacher resources | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

15 Take-aways from Online Grad School Classes

edtechMTI 562 (the Tech-infused Teacher) and MTI 563 (the Differentiated Teacher) just ended. More than a dozen of us–teachers, library media specialists, tech integrationists, lab teachers–gathered virtually for five weeks to experiment with some of the hottest tech tools available for the classroom–Google Apps, differentiation options, digital storytelling, visual learning, Twitter, blogs, backchannels, digital citizenship, assessment, and more. Sessions were run like a flipped classroom where attendees accessed daily topics, read/watched materials, tested their knowledge, and experimented with projects. In some cases, they failed and tried again–and shared with classmates what went wrong and how it was fixed–or how they attempted to fix it. They chatted with colleagues on discussion boards, blogs, and Twitter. They asked the class mentor (aka, guide or teacher) questions on class topics or any tech ed issue they needed help on.  Once a week, we got together virtually (Google Hangout or TweetUp) to share ideas, answer questions, and discuss nuances.

Some of the problems students faced down:

  • How to use twitter
  • How to use GHO
  • How to make a tagxedo interactive
  • How to work tech tools into their unique student groups
  • How to create screencasts and screenshots
  • How to create professional blogs
  • How to embed materials into digital portfolios
  • How to create a vibrant, healthy Personal Learning Network

Now as I wave goodbye to these students I’ve only known five weeks but feel quite close to, here are my takeaways:

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Categories: Online education, Teacher resources | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tech Ed Resources–Classes

I get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Classes

Overview

Ask a Tech Teacher offers a variety of classes throughout the year. All are online, hands-on, with an authentic use of tools you’ll want for your classroom.

Diffeentiated TeacherDifferentiation: How Technology Makes Differentiation Fast and Easy

College credit (MTI 563)

Next class: August 10, 2015

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

Differentiation in the classroom means meeting students where they are most capable of learning. It is not an extra layer of work, rather a habit of mind for both teacher and student. Learn granular approaches to infusing differentiation into all of your lesson plans, whether you’re a Common Core school or not, with this hands-on, interactive class. Ideas include visual, audio, video, mindmaps, infographics, graphic organizers, charts and tables, screenshots, screencasts, images, games and simulations, webtools, and hybrid assessments.

Assessment is based on effort, interaction with classmates, and completion of projects, so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.


tech-infused teacherThe Tech-infused Teacher: The 21st Century Digitally-infused Teacher

College credit (MTI 562)

Next class: July 27th, 2015

Next: Sept. 21st, 2015

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, and publish digitally. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.

Assessment is based on effort, interaction with classmates, and completion of projects, so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.


webtools for education20 Webtools in 25 Days (How to Find Webtools that Serve Your Classroom)

College credit

Next class: September, 2015

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

Participants will explore twenty popular digital tools educators are using in their classrooms to extend learning and differentiate for student needs. Participants will review between one and four during the five-week class (by themselves or in groups) and present their review to classmates in a weekly Google Hangout. Participants will respond to the reviews of their classmates with comments, suggestions, personal experience, and questions. Both curations can be used as resource tools in the participant’s upcoming school year.

Assessment is project-based so participants should be prepared to be fully-involved and eager risk-takers.


summer pdThe Tech-infused Teacher: Summer PD

Certificate

Next class: Summer, 2016

(email askatechteacher@gmail.com for more information)

The 21st Century lesson blends technology with teaching to build a collaborative, differentiated, and shared learning environment. In this course, you will use a suite of digital tools to make that possible while addressing overarching concepts like digital citizenship, internet search and research, authentic assessment, digital publishing, and immersive keyboarding. You will actively collaborate, share knowledge, provide constructive feedback to classmates, publish digitally, and differentiate for unique needs. Classmates will become the core of your ongoing Personal Learning Network.

Assessment is project-based so be prepared to be fully-involved and an eager risk-taker.


 

Who needs these

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Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Online education, Teacher resources, Videos | Tags: , | Leave a comment