A lot of teacher-authors read my WordDreams blog. In this monthly column, I share the most popular post from the past month on my teacher education blog, Ask a Tech Teacher. Today, it’s my Book Launch for my latest historical fiction, Natural Selection. History teachers: If you teach about our ancestors’ roots, this is for you!
I will visit blogs through May 2023 to chat about my newest prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, and writing in general. Here are articles you can read:
- A [Prehistoric] Day with Lucy
- Could an almost-blind person get around feral Africa?
- Did wanderlust drive man throughout the planet? Science thinks so. (Liesbet)
- Early Man Can Talk. Change my Mind.
- Early Man Could Run Down His Prey. Change my Mind.
- Why Early Man didn’t Use Proper Nouns.
- How Did Early Man Count?
- How did Early Man Find His Way Around
- How Did Early Man Tell Time?
- How Smart was Lucy 2 mya
- Prehistoric fiction is boring. Change my mind.
- Why did Early Man Squat, not Sit?
- Was Early Man Spiritual
- What Did Early Man Eat?
- What I learned from Lucy
- 10 Characteristics of Great Writing
- 10 Things you probably don’t know about me (Marcia Meara)
- 13 Writing Tips and 10 Criticisms I’ve Gotten from Twitter
- 60+ Characteristics That Make Your Character Memorable
- 5 Excuses Why Writers Don’t Write and 9 Ways to Overcome Them
- Why Follow Genre Rules (OC Writing)
Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.
Buy the K-8 curriculum; get the 55-page Hour of Code bundle for free
Perfect if you’re doing Hour of Code in December. Email us at askatechteacher at gmail dot com with your receipt. We’ll verify and then send you the bundle.
What’s in the Hour of Code bundle?
aligned with ISTE and Common Core
lots of options to differentiate for student needs
Questions? Ask Jacqui Murray at askatechteacher at gmail dot com.
Copyright ©2022 askatechteacher.com – All rights reserved.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.
One of the most popular and in-demand skills is anything related to computers–programming, repair, networking, and cybersecurity to name a few. If you love the challenge of coding computers to do just about anything you can visualize, the hardest part of deciding on a post-High School career may be selecting the right specialty. One of our Ask a Tech Teacher crew has come up with a short list of questions you should ask before getting started:
- Is your selected specialty right for you?
- What are the employment opportunities?
- What income can you expect?
Choosing the Right Computer Science Specialization
Specialization is crucial in building a professional career, with most occupations encouraging their current or prospective workforce to gain additional training and knowledge within their domain of expertise. Computer science is no exception. A master’s in computer science program allows you to choose from a wide range of specialty areas based on your specific interests and career goals.
However, with an array of specializations available, knowing the right one to specialize in can be challenging. If you’re looking to enroll in an online MS in CS, it’s important to try and understand what area of specialization will be suitable for your career progression. Below are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a specialization in computer science to ensure you select the right one for you:
Here are the most-read posts for the month of October, including:
- Freebie for history teachers
- Digital Citizenship Week
- 100+ Digcit websites
- Assistive technology tools for writing
- Dyslexia Awareness Month
- Bully Prevention Month
- Exercises to Strengthen Fingers for Keyboarding
- Teacher Tech Training is Critical
- HS Curricula and Career Education
- Websites to Explain Elections
Here’s a preview of what’s coming up in November:
- Choosing the right Computer Science specialization
- Free Hour of Code Lesson Plans
- National STEM/STEAM Day
- Tech Tips
- Apps for Curious Students
- Thanksgiving Break!
You may know Jotform as one of the most popular tools in the form builder category, recognized for its simplicity and sophistication in what could otherwise be the complicated process of collecting and analyzing data. It works on all platforms, can be shared via a link or embed (as well as other options), and supports multiple languages. Over the past several years, Jotform has released many features designed to simplify and automate teaching’s more mundane tasks, such as Smart PDF Forms, a PDF Editor, Jotform Cards, Tables, and Jotform Reports, Approvals, Mobile Forms, and more. (Click the links for my reviews).
Today, we’ll talk about Jotform Sign, a great way to save time collecting and managing signatures:
What is Jotform Sign?
How does it work?
Why educators love it
Jotform Sign is an alternative to clunky and pricey e-signature software. It streamlines your workflow, making it easy for users to sign documents and you to collect responses. Built into the platform are many features like advanced field detection, limitless customization options, and popular integrations. Jotform Sign is perfect for any public or private school looking for a way to easily and automatically create legally binding documents with signatures.
Best of all, Sign is free with any Jotform account.
Three holidays are fast-approaching–Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you’re a teacher, that means lots of tie-ins to make school festive and relevant to students.
Here are ideas for Halloween projects, lesson plans, websites, and apps (check here for updated links):
Websites and Apps
- 30-day Halloween fitness challenge
- Build a Jack-o-lantern (in Google Slides)
- Carving Pumpkins
- Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents magazine – Resolute Digital, LLC (app)
- Enchanted Learning
- Halloween games, puzzles–clean, easy to understand website and few ads!
- Halloween ghost stories
- Halloween Kahoot Games (video for teachers)
- Halloween Science
- Halloween WordSearch – FinBlade (app)
- Halloween Voice Transformer (app)
- Landon’s Pumpkins – LAZ Reader [Level P–second grade] – Language Technologies, Inc. (app)
- Make A Zombie – Skunk Brothers GmbH (app)
- Math vs. Zombies (app)
- Meddybemps Spooky
- Pumpkin Patch Games
- Skelton Park
- The Kidz Page
- WordSearch Halloween – AFKSoft (app)
- ASCII Art–Computer Art for Everyone (a pumpkin–see inset)
- Lesson Plan: Halloween letter for grades 2-5
- Make a Holiday Card
- A Holiday Card
- A Holiday flier
In about half the world–mostly those where people live under socialism, communism, dictators, or autocracies–law and order is decided for the people. In the 1700’s, when the brand new United States of America, newly liberated from the British aristocratic rule that relied on Kings and Queens, wrote its very first Constitution and Bill of Rights, it decided to establish a system of government by the people. Called ‘the Grand Experiment’, the founders empowered ordinary citizens–such as farmers, shopkeepers, laborers, and seamstresses–to elect the individuals who would protect America’s shores, our freedoms, and our way of life.
Over two hundred years after that mandate, it is still unclear whether it will work. In the 1850’s, Abraham Lincoln warned:
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
A hundred years after that, Gore Vidal bemoaned:
“Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.”
Winston Churchill called democracy “…the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.… “. In short, it is messy.
Still, every four years, Americans must make critical choices that will shape our nation’s democracy. Citizens are expected to research their options and then vote for the candidates most qualified to fulfill the country’s goals. Thomas Jefferson called education a “…vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
This year, on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, we will elect every one of 435 members of the House of Representatives, one-third of the one hundred Senators, and the most powerful position in the country, the President. I’ve curated a list of websites to provide students with the background knowledge on the election process that will prepare them for the day they’ll be asked to cast their vote and decide the future. The first few explain elections in general and the next teach the process through gamification.
College enrollment among high school grads grew during the early 2010’s, leveling off about 2017 when it began to drop to a current low of about 62%, approx. 4% lower than 2019. The decline may be due to increased costs, that the cost-benefit of a college degree and earnings after graduation is questionable (according to some studies), the pandemic, or a plethora of other reasons. The current trend among some colleges of not requiring ACT or SAT scores hasn’t stopped the fall.
One of the Ask a Tech Teacher contributors has come up with a good article on how to make career information more easily available to high school graduates, with a focus on those who may not want to continue to a college or University. This article reviews the many benefits of providing career education for high school students and which areas are particularly valuable. It looks at how to best include this learning into an existing curriculum.
How High School teachers can incorporate careers education into the curriculum
Including career education in the curriculum is important for a number of reasons. It will help students to better understand what they want to do when they grow up, and it will also give them a better idea of the different options that are available to them. Teaching high school students about careers also helps them to develop skills that will be useful in their future jobs, such as problem-solving and teamwork. In addition, it can also help to inspire them to pursue their dreams and goals.
Helping students understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and how these match up with different careers
It’s never too early to start thinking about career options. But for many students, the thought of choosing a single path can be daunting. One way to ease the pressure is to help students understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and how these match up with different careers. You can include this in the curriculum by helping students assess their skills and interests, students can then begin to narrow down their options and find a career that is a good fit. In addition, understanding their strengths and weaknesses can help students identify areas that need improvement. With this knowledge in hand, they can then take steps to address any deficiencies and become better prepared for their chosen career. Ultimately, by helping students understand themselves, we can give them the tools they need to make informed decisions about their future.
Back when I started teaching tech, teachers loved saying that kids knew more than they did, even defer to students to teach. That doesn’t work anymore which means even the most tech-phobic of teachers must step up. Here’s a good article from Yahoo Finance on that:
“With technology, it’s not all or nothing,” says Williams. “It’s about how to make learning meaningful. The question to ask is, where does it make …
More on Ask a Tech Teacher about teacher tech training
- Warming up Fingers
Before exercising in the gym, you warm up. Typing is a workout for the fingers. Lay your hand flat on a table (or book) with all fingers touching. Spread your fingers apart as far as possible and hold for three seconds. Close fingers together. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Stretching Fingers
Stretching fingers is just as important as warming up the muscles of the hand. To stretch your finger muscles, hold your hands facing each other. Touch the thumb from your right hand to the thumb of your left hand. Touch the first finger on your right hand to the first finger on the left hand. Repeat until all fingers are touching.