Category: Websites

Family Physical Education Week

Family PE Week is October 3rd through 7th this year. I was traveling during this event, but thought I’d share some website resources to help in this endeavor:

  1. BracketMaker
  2. Final Kick–app; simulates kicking that final soccer kick (with Google Cardboard)
  3. GoNoodle–fitness videos
  4. LifeSaver–simulation where the viewer must save a life
  5. Map My Fitness (app)
  6. Move It (app)
  7. My Fitness Pal (app) — map what you eat
  8. OPEN–Online PE Network; lesson plans, music, more
  9. ScratchEd–using Scratch to teach PE
  10. Sprint Timer (app)
  11. Sworkit (app) — 5-60 minute workouts
  12. Team Shake (app) — pick teams
  13. Virtual Reality in PE–resources and videos to use

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Teach Critical Thinking

There’s a reason why the brain uses 25% of the calories you eat: Thinking is hard work. Subjects like math and science — the ones only “smart” kids do well in — demand that you find patterns, unravel clues, connect one dot to another, and scaffold knowledge learned in prior lessons. Worse, you’re either right or wrong with no gray areas.

Wait. Where have we heard those characteristics before? In games! Do these descriptions sound familiar (ask your game-playing students)?

Take the helm of your own country and work together with others to solve international problems!

Manage your city so it’s energy efficient and sustainable. 

Solve a mysterious outbreak in a distant tropical jungle and save the scientists. 

All torn straight from the taglines of popular games. Kids love playing games, leveling up, and finding the keys required to win. They choose the deep concentration and trial-and-error of gameplay over many other activities because figuring out how to win is exciting. So why the disconnect among teachers and parents when applying gameplay to learning?

Surprisingly, all you need is one simple mindshift to do this: Create a classroom environment where thinking isn’t considered work. Don’t say science and math are hard. Don’t jump in to solve problems. Let students thrill with the excitement of finding their own solutions. The great thinkers of our time understand that everyone is capable of finding solutions:

“Failure isn’t falling down; it’s not getting up.” — Mary Pickford 

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” — Voltaire

“Life is a crisis. So what?” — Malcom Bradbury

I’ve discussed problem-solving before (see How to Teach Students to Solve Problems). Today, I want to share five favorite websites that turn the deep-thinking required for solving problems into fun:

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Back To School Websites

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using to

  1. BTS resources
  2. BTS resources from Microsoft
  3. Make a class photo in Pixton EDU

We write about back to school often on Ask a Tech Teacher. Here are some of the past articles I think you’ll like:

  1. 8 Tech Tools to Get to Know Your Students for Back to School
  2. 3 Apps to Help Brainstorm Next Year’s Lessons
  3. 11 Back-to-school Activities for the First Month of School
  4. Great Back to School Classroom Activities
  5. Plan a Memorable Back to School Night
  6. New School Year? New Tech? I Got You Covered
  7. 5 Top Ways to Integrate Technology into the New School Year
  8. 5 Ways to Involve Parents in Your Class
  9. 6 Tech Best Practices for New Teachers
  10. 5 Tech Ed Tools to Use this Fall
  11. How to Build Your PLN
  12. 5 Ways Teachers Can Stay on Top of Technology
  13. 5 FREE Web Tools for a New School Year
  14. Dear Otto: I need year-long assessments
  15. Great Activities for the First Week of School

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June is Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed in 2005 by the U.S. Senate. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety for all, with a special focus on kids ranging from tots to teens. Children are just as connected to the Internet as adults. This is a great list of internet cautions I got from an online efriend a few years ago. I reprint it every year because it covers all the basics, avoids boring details, and gives kids (and adults) rules to live by:

Not everything you read online is true

It used to be anything we read in print was true. We could trust newspapers, magazines and books as reliable sources of information. It’s not the same with the web. Since anyone can become published, some of the stuff you’re reading online isn’t true. Even worse, some people are just rewriting stuff they read from other people online, so you might be reading the same false information over and over again. Even Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a reliable source. If you’re researching something online, consider the source. Some poorly written, random web page, isn’t necessarily a good source. However, if you find a .gov or .org site, the information has a better chance of being true. Always look at who owns the website and whether or not they have an agenda before considering whether or not certain information is true.

Not everyone you meet online are who they say they are

This is the hard part because we want to trust our friends, even our online friends. The truth is, some of the people you meet online are lying about who they really are. Sometimes adults pretend to be kids and kids pretend to be someone else. They do this for a variety of reasons; grownups might want to try and have sex with kids or frenemies might want to act like friends to get information on someone they want to bully at school or online. Unless you know someone very well and can verify their identity, don’t trust that everyone who you speak to online are who they say they are.

Some people who are pretending to be kids really aren’t. There are grownups who pretend to be kids so teens and kids won’t get creeped out talking with them. This is never a good thing. Most of the grownups who are looking to talk to kids are looking for sex. Parents need to monitor their kids’ friends list and ask questions about the friends they don’t know. It’s more prevalent than you think and it COULD happen to you.

Not everyone you “friend” is your friend. Just like in the real world, not everyone you know is a friend. Think long and hard about the people you’re “friending.” Drama doesn’t just stay in school anymore, now it follows you home thanks to the social networks. Plus, stuff y

ou share with what you think is a private social networking page is a simple cut and paste away from being broadcast all over school. Also, be careful when friending friends of friends and friends of friends of friends. You don’t really know these people, why are you giving them access to your private life? Sometimes, it’s like giving them the keys to your house.

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13 Websites on Architecture/Engineering

Here are a few of the popular resources teachers are using for Architecture and Engineering:

Architecture

  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Autodesk HomeDesigner–free; for olders or HS
  3. Classroom Architect
  4. The Geometry of Sustainable Architecture–in Google Earth

Design

  1. Design Evo–create logos for free

Engineering

  1. ASCEville–Civil engineering jobs, activities
  2. Concord Consortium–chemistry, earth science, engineering, life science, physics
  3. DiscoverE hands-on activities–also includes games, lesson plans, videos
  4. Gizmos
  5. Solving Problems with Simple Machines (video)
  6. Through My Window–free multi-media curriculum on engineering for grades 4-8
  7. Truss Me— design and test trusses
  8. What is an engineer–video for youngers or as an intro

Click here for updates to this list.

–Image credit Deposit Photos

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National Library Week April 3-9

National Library Week is April 3-9, 2022. It allows us to promote our local libraries and their workers. Find more about here at the American Library Association.

Because I  know most of you online only, I thought I’d share my favorite online libraries with you:

For Children

  1. Aesop for Children–collection of fables
  2. Actively Learn–add PDFs of your choice to a library that can be annotated, read, and shared.
  3. Audio Books–apps for books purchased through Audio Books (and free ones)
  4. Bookopolis–focused on student reading
  5. Books that Grow–read a story at many different reading levels
  6. Class Literature
  7. Epic–a reading library for kids, 15,000 books; most digital devices
  8. RAZ Kids–wide variety of reading levels, age groups, with teacher dashboards
  9. Reading Rainbow–library of books; free to try
  10. Signed Stories–beautiful stories in sign language
  11. Tumblebooks (fee)–focused on student reading

For All Ages

  1. Free Books–download any of our 23,469 classic books, and read
  2. Great Books Online by Bartleby
  3. IBooks–amazing way to download and read books.
  4. International Library
  5. Internet Archive— Internet Archive offers over 12,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 550,000 modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account.
  6. Kindle–read ebooks, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on an easy-to-use interface.
  7. Librivox–free public domain audio books
  8. Loyal Books
  9. Many Books–Over 33,000 ebooks that can be browsed by language, author, title. 
  10. Online Books Page
  11. Open Library
  12. OWL Eyes–for the classics
  13. Unite for books (free) — gorgeous, easy-to-navigate site.

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