Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Tech Tuesday! 9/28

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! I hope the school days are treating you well. I want to give a shout out to the Varsity Boys Football team from South. After 8 long years, they finally beat North. Congrats to them and the North team for playing such a great game.

I have a handful of goodies this week I found on my Google reader that I can't wait to share with you. Take a look around and see how you might be able to incorporate them into your class.

Rocks and Minerals

Here is a great blog I found that has collected a bunch of different Rocks and Minerals sites for students. Some are very interactive and would be great on our Smartboards. They range from Elementary school through Junior High. Some of these would be a great way to introduce a unit on Rocks and Minerals or provide a review for a lesson already covered. Thanks to InTec InSights for putting together this collection.

Disney's Planet Challenge

According to their website, "Disney’s Planet Challenge (DPC) is a project-based learning environmental competition for classrooms across the United States. DPC teaches kids about science and conservation while empowering them to make a positive impact on their communities and planet." 

"Beginning this year, DPC will offer two tracks of competition: the Elementary School track (Grades 3-5) and the BRAND NEW Middle School track (Grades 6-8)!"

Registration Deadline Friday, December 17, 2010

Project Submission Deadline Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Winners Announcement The Second Week of April, 2011

Winners Celebration May, 2011

I think this would be a great way to include classes in a very fun and important project that can have a positive impact on them and the environment. Take a look at this project and I really hope some of you bring this to your class.
Pay Attention

The video is a little long, but it brings up an interesting point regarding cell phones in the classroom and the overall use of technology in the classroom. This is some really good food for thought and we continue to battle students and cell phone use. Maybe it's time to rethink our policy regarding cell phones.

What is the difference between social media and social networking?

Here is a great post by Jason T Bedell about social media and social networking. His blog has tons of great information for teachers interested in integrating technology into their class. Take a minute and see what he has to say.

Lastly, if any of you have taken and used some of the items I have shared on this blog, I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email and I would love to talk to you.

As always, give it a try.

- Nick Provenzano

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tech Tuesday 9/21 :-)

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! I'm here once again to bring some great tech tips for you to use for yourself or to share with your students.  We are heavy on the Smartboard info today, so see if there are any new ways that you can use your Smartboard in class this week.

Comparison Shoot Out by Fuel the Brain

This is a fun little game that would be great on the Smartboard. It helps kids work out their Math skills in a fun and interactive way. There are three different levels of difficulty with the third level shown above. This could be used as a review for a unit or just some learning fun. It's worth checking out and using in class. I payed with it for a few minutes and refreshed my fraction knowledge.

More Smartboard fun! Take a look at all of the different activities that Scholastic has put together for Interactive Whiteboards. They have lessons for Language Arts, Social Studies and Science and Math. Scholastic always has wonderful lessons and it is great to see that they are expanding their work to include IWBs. Take a look at what they have put together and how you might use the different lessons in your classroom.

Another great collection of interactive games for students ranging from age 3 to age 14. The site focuses on Math and English and the games would work great on the Smartboard. This is a British site, but the games are fun and easy to use. This is another great example of a site using the power of IWBs to create engaging lessons and games that can help students learn while interacting with the content. Teachers are always saying that they want to use their Smartboard for more than just taking notes or showing movies. This is another site that can help change the way you run your class. Instead of using handouts, use the Smartboard with this site and have the class show you what they have learned.

Lastly, here is a collection of free stock images for teachers and students to use. This collections is being shared with us by Thomas Boito from his blog, EDge21. Sometimes it can be tough to find the right picture to use for a lecture or presentation as we follow strict copyright laws. This collection can make that picture hunt easier for you and your students. Flip through the pages of the Livebinder and see if there are any pictures you or your students could use.

Give it a try!

- Nick Provenzano

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tech Tuesday for 9/14

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. Here are some great ideas and tech tools for your considerations.

Learning to Blog Using Paper

This is a great project for younger students if you are considering blogging in your class. By using regular sheets of paper, students learn how to "post" items and "comment" on blogs. It's a very fun and simple idea that the kids will love. I think it is very important to start thinking about blogging in the younger grades because they will need to know how to do this as they get older. Teaching them how to do it know, will save them stress later on. Thanks to McTeach for sharing.

10 Great Ways to Use Your Document Camera

Here is another great post from Mr. Zimmer. He has some interesting ideas for using the Document Camera in the classroom. The one that stood out to me was turning the head of the camera towards the class and using it as a recorder for presentations. Great idea! Look at some of the other ideas he has on his blog.


A cool site passed along by Mr. Zimmer that provides various brain teasers, riddles and logic puzzles. This could be a really fun way to start or end a class. There are many different categories to choose from and different levels of difficulty. This site is worth a look if you think your students would be up for a challenge.


Voki is a fun site that allows the user to create a talking cartoon person. You can choose from historical figures or crazy combinations on looks. You can record your own voice or have the computer speak for you with text you created. This could be something fun and different to add to a site or have students create for their presentations. Additional Instructions and Project Ideas: http://cybraryman.com/voki.html

Project PLN

One last plug for the online magazine I created with my friend Kelly. Our goal is to bring some of the best blog posts and ideas on a selected topic to as many teachers as possible. We have  had over 4,500 hits so far and I really think it is worth your time if you have not read it yet. This issue is all about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and how much individual teachers have benefited from them. Take a second and read a few articles. You just might be inspired to start your own PLN.

That's it for this week. If you are ever looking for anything specific, feel free to leave a comment on the blog or send me an email.

- Give it a try!

Monday, September 6, 2010

1st Day of School

It is the first day of school and I hope that everyone is not too sleepy. I have a few interesting sites for you to check out. Don't forget to take a look at my New Teacher Tech Survival Post. You do not have to be a new teacher to find this post valuable. Take a look and see what you might be able to use in your classroom.

Blogging Rubric

More and more teachers are starting to have their students blog for class and that is a great thing. I found this great rubric that teaches can use with students to help guide their blogging. It's a very simple rubric that can be altered for an individual teacher's need. This rubric does not have to be used for grading. It can be used as a guide for students as they get used to the blogging format. Check out this rubric to see if you can use it in your class.

Project PLN

Here is a project I have been working on this summer with a friend. Project PLN is a monthly magazine dedicated to education. Every month, Kelly Tenkely and I will select a handful of blog posts, videos, images, etc on a selected topic and publish in this online magazine format. Our first issue is on PLNs and the impact they can have on education. Please check this out and pass it along. We will have new topics every month and are excited to see what other people have to share. Thanks for reading!

Flip Cam Uses Across The Curriculum

This summer, I won a Flip Cam from @SpecialK12 while at the ISTE Conference in Denver. I was really excited about getting a Flip Cam because there are so many different things I can use it for in my English classes. This post shows different possible uses for Flip Cams in Science, English, Social Studies, Math and Foreign Language. Reasonably priced at $150 for the standard definition Flip Cam and $200 for the HD version, the Flip Cam is a smart investment for teachers looking to add extra dimensions to their lessons. Flip Cams are very easy to use and are ready out of the box. Take a look at the potential uses of the Flip Cam in this post and see if a Flip Cam would be right for your classroom.

Save The Words!

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely and her site iLearnTechnology for pointing this site out to me. Save The Words is a very cool site that has collected "endangered" words. The main page is filled with words scattered all over the page. As you scroll over the words, they scream out to you to "pick me". If you find a word that is near and dear to your heart, you can "adopt-a-word". By adopting a word, you are promising to use your new word in an effort to keep it alive for others to enjoy. The site offers a word of the day that could be a great way to introduce new words to your students. As the English language continues to evolve, it is nice to see a site dedicated to saving as many words as possible. Without sites like this, how would we ever know which of our math teachers are masters of logarithmotechny? Check out this fun site to see how you might be able to use it in your class.

Here a couple of videos worth watching as the school year starts. Sometimes we dive right into our lesson plans because know what we want to do. Sometimes, we should take a minute to get to know our students and maybe adjust our lessons down the line. Take a look at these two videos and see if you take into consideration the type of learners in the seats instead of the type of teacher you are.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a couple of other videos to get you through the first day. Enjoy.

What do you make?

We might feel this way after the first day of school, bit it only gets better from here.I hope everyone had a great first day and I know each and every one of you is going to have an amazing year.

- Give it a try!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Teacher Tech Survival Kit

We have many new teachers in the district this year and I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of great tools that every new teacher should consider when starting their teaching career. Do not feel pressured to use every one of these tools right away. These are just suggestions based on my experience and the experience of many other veteran tech teachers when asked. If you have any questions about any of the tools listed here, please do not hesitate to contact me.

RSS Readers

There is a ton of information on the Internet, it is tough to keep up with your favorite sites. Often you find yourself wasting time to check websites that have not been updated or you miss other sites that are are updated constantly. By creating an RSS Feed, updates to your favorite website can be sent to one spot for you to read. I prefer to use Google Reader. It's easy to use and you can access it from mobile devices. Here is a cool little video that will explain the process of RSS Feeds.

Tube Chop

Here is a great site for teachers that want to show some YouTube videos but might only want to show certain selections. Tubechop is a website that lets you take any YouTube clip and chop it down to size. It is very simple to use and does not take very long. Just select the video you want, select the portion you want to watch and click the chop button. You will be given a link or a code to embed into a website. This site can come in very handy if there is a specific part of a clip you want to show your kids without constantly resetting the video player. This can save you time in the long run. Check this site out.


Livebinders is a great site. It is a great way to keep any or all of the documents you have for a unit or an entire class. I have created a binder for my Graphic Novel Class. It's labeled as Pictorial Literature and it was a way from me to keep an organized binder of all of my new materials I wanted students to have access to. I was able to create individual units on each tab of the virtual binder and cut and paste my documents. Each assignment was clearly labeled and easily accessible for my students. As the Semester went on, I uploaded and linked more work to the binder. Each Binder has a 100MB capacity. I find it hard to believe that people are going to cross the 100MB mark, but you can always create another Binder. The Binders do not have to be teachers only though.

Students can use binders for projects. I hate having to carry around a bunch of different projects that students have created. They were frustrating in paper form and are a different type of frustrating if they are sent to my email or are burned to a disc. I use a Mac (Love it!) and might not be able to check the assignment at home if they used some weird program I don't have. Also, I just don't trust what kids put on their flash drives or email to open it at home. Livebinders allows anyone to create the binder and store on their website. With the ability to upload PDFs, Pictures, videos, etc, the students will be able to create a full presentation that a teacher can check from the comfort of home. For Social Studies teachers, I know you like to use binders for current events and other projects. A virtual binder would be a great way for students to link to current events and other important Social Studies materials that you can check at your leisure. Also, this is a free service, so it will not cost your students, or you, a dime.

I find it is a great way to store all of my documents in a easy to use location without taxing the school's servers. It also allows you to access handouts from the Livebinder that might have been previously saved at school. The Internet provides teachers and students with options, so it's important to try them out.

Drop Box

Drop Box is a service I use and love. I wrote a post about it last year. You should check out this post and see how you can use Cloud Computing in your life. Drop Box Post. If you are not sure what cloud computing is, watch this video to see if Drop Box is for you.

Social Bookmarking

In the old days, when you found an interesting website but did not have the time to read it, you would create a bookmark in your browser and read it later. That worked fine unless you wanted to read that page from a different computer. Social Bookmarking sites, Diigo or Del.icio.us, allow you to bookmark sites to be read at a different time and place wherever you have computer access. The title link will take you to a post I did on using Diigo with students. It has made my life a little more organized, which is a huge help as a teacher. Below you see a video explaining Social Bookmarking and using Del.icio.us. Diigo and Del.icio.us are both great bookmarking sites. Try both out and see which you prefer.


I have written multiple posts in the past about the benefits of using Twitter as a teacher. For some reason, it has been slow to catch on with others. I can honestly say that I have learned more from the connections I have made through Twitter than any PD or grad class I have taken. When I have questions, my Twitter teacher buddies will have answers in minutes. You can follow me @TheNerdyTeacher and I would be more than happy to connect you to the teachers I chat with daily.

Why You Should Tweet!
Twitter in the Classroom
Hello Twitter World

There are many more articles and posts out there about Twitter and how it has helped connect teachers from around the world. It is an amazing tool and you should seriously consider using it.


I love using Wallwisher! I wrote a post on using it last year. It is great for peer feedback for projects. Check it out.

Using Wallwisher in class.

Here is a screen cast I had to create for a grad class. Embarrassing, but helpful.

A collection of sites:

Below are a list of sites that I cannot live without. They are blogs and sites written by some very amazing people that will go out of their way to help you. I don't have the space to really list all of the sites I follow, but here are just a few to get your RSS feed going.




http://edutechintegration.blogspot.com/ (New post on using the SMART airliner)




www.thenerdyteacher.com (Yup, self promotion)




I hope these sites are just a jumping off point as you continue to explore the wonders of Social Media and how it can make you a better teacher. Give it a Try!