Monday, December 12, 2011

Tech Tuesday for December

Sorry for the long delay in the Tech Tuesday posts. It's been a crazy semester and I wanted to make sure I shared the best resources available. Here are some good ones you might like.

NRich

This is a Math site geared toward making Math more engaging with various lessons. They offer games and lessons that work on Interactive Whiteboards. Resources are broken into 4 groups. K-5, 2-8, 5-10 and 11 and 12. Do some digging around to find the lesson that best fit your class.

How to use your Outlook Calendar

Here is a video that shows you some tips and tricks to Microsoft Outlook.



Smartboard Resources

Thanks to  Melissa Edwards and her blog Technology: Figuring Out How The Pieces Fit for finding this resource and sharing it. Thanks Melissa!

Here is a link to some great SmartBoard resources. This is for all grades and covers the ranges of subjects. If you are having trouble finding sites to use on your SmartBoard that will keep your students involved in the lesson. Take a look around these different pages and pick out what you like.

http://livebinders.com/play/play?id=7376

P.S. Livebinders is really awesome and I use it in my classes. The kids like having the information in one place. Check out this post if you are curious about Livebinders.

Diigo

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that from my students. Another one I love to hear is, "What do you mean I can't use Wikipedia as a source?" As an English Teacher, I have spent many long hours teaching students how to conduct proper searches on the internet. They should never be able to tell you that they were never taught how to properly cite information or where to look that information up.

With that having been said, sometimes I just want my students to look at a few specific websites for a specific project. I have started using a great site I want to share with you great teachers. The site is called Diigo and it is a bookmarking site.

"Why do I need a bookmarking site?" Well, bookmarking sites are a way for you to save all of those wonderful websites you have found or I have sent you. We all have bookmarks on our computer at home and at school. The problem with saving them on our home and work computers is that we can access what we have on the other computer. Diigo, and similar bookmarking sites, solve this problem.

Bookmarking sites save all of your bookmarks on their site so you can access them from any computer with internet access. If you find a great site at home while working, just bookmark it with Diigo and you will not have to worry about emailing yourself the link. The links are very easy to share with other teachers and even students. There are tons of great things you can do with this wonderful tool.

Highlighting - You can highlight specific information before you bookmark the site. This can save people time when there is to much information to read through and all you want is a few lines.

Sticky Notes - You can places notes on the highlighted areas to remind you of their relevance. There have been too many times where I have bookmarked a site and I could not remember why I saved it a day or so later.

Groups - You can create specific groups and send pages you find to that group only. You can make the group a public group (anyone can join) or a private group (you select who can join). I have used the groups to store specific websites I want different classes to look at. It has cut research time in half for my students on various projects.

Email - You can directly email any site you find to yourself or other teachers. You can create an address book and send the site directly to students or to other teachers in your department.

Teacher Account - You can request to sign up for a Teacher Account from Diigo. This will allow you to sign up students to join your specific groups that you have created. I have a Teacher Account and I plan on using it with my Freshmen for their research project. Goodbye note cards and hello Diigo.

Linking Accounts - Diigo allows you to link your blog and Twitter accounts to your Diigo account. This way, if you bookmark something, it can be posted to you blog and your Twitter. You can set up a your account to post all the bookmarks you have made to your blog. It can be set for a daily, twice daily or weekly. This is a great way to save you time. You can also link your iPhone to Diigo as well. Download the Diigo App and you will have access to anything that you have bookmarked. It might be available for other phones, but you would have to check for that.

The best way to start bookmarking after you create your account is to download the toolbar. It will sit at the top of your browser and you just click the bookmark button when you want to share a website. There are many other great parts of Diigo that you can use. It's best to log on and play around a bit.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tech Tuesday November 22

Here are some resources that I thought all of you might find helpful.

Web 2.0 Tools

Here is a great collection of web tools that you could use in your classroom.

iPads in the classroom

Here is a collection of resources on how to utilize iPads in the classroom.

Interactive Websites

This is a great collection of websites that work wonderful on the Smartboard.

Science Interactive Websites

Here are some interactive websites that are for science teachers that work wonderfully on the Smartboard.

Feel free to give these a try and havea wonderful Thanksgiving Break.

One last awesome site. Enjoy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tech Tuesday for November 8th

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone. I hope you are all having a great PD day. Here are some things you might find useful.

Superstar Teacher

I met a man while I was at AuthorSpeak2011 last week and we talked about how tough it is for teachers to afford the the little things in class sometimes. Many of us talked with Todd about the way money is spent and how many teachers are fighting for the same scraps as others. Well, Todd Thornton has set up mini grants for teachers all over! Follow the guidelines and you can earn up to $500 for your classroom. Check out the site now before all of the money is gone!

Digital Storytelling Apps

Do you have an iPad and are you looking for apps that will allow you to make fun and exciting stories to share with your students? Well, here is the site you have been looking for. It's a simple Google site that offers a few different apps and explains how they could be used in digital storytelling. See if you can use any of these in your class or at home.

Algebra and Geometry Games

Here is a link to some fun Algebra games. The tabs say Grade 6-8, but this might be useful at the HS level. Take a look and see if these would work in your class or at home with your kids.

Gary's Social Media Count

Here is a very cool graphic that can show you the role Social Media has in the world today. Our students are responsible for much of the content that is being created on the web right now. It's important to keep that in mind as we look for different ways to infuse technology into our classroom. It might not seem important to you, but your students might be ready for something completely different.


- Give it a try!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tech Tuesday for October 25th

Happy Tech Tuesday! Here are two sites I think you will find very helpful this year. Take a look and give them a try.

NRich

This is a Math site geared toward making Math more engaging with various lessons. They offer games and lessons that work on Interactive Whiteboards. Resources are broken into 4 groups. K-5, 2-8, 5-10 and 11 and 12. Do some digging around to find the lesson that best fit your class.

Boxify.me

I love this quick and simple file sharing site. No sign up is required. Simply upload the files you want and share the unique URL with the people you want to have access to the files. You can actually give your own title to the web address to kids will have an easier time remembering.

I cannot wait to use this in my class. This will allow me to share any files I want with my students and they can access them from any web-enabled device.  As the district moves more towards allowing students to bring in their own devices, sites like this will be important for teachers to use so they can easily and quickly share documents with students.

Give this site a try.

I hope everyone has a great week. I will be out of district at a conference next week, so I will not be able to send out the Tech Tuesday. I will be back in November. Until the, I encourage you to do some Google searches and see if you can find some great sites to share with the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tech Tuesday for October 18th

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! I hope all of you has a nice weekend and a good Monday. I've got a couple of great sites to share with you. Give them a try and let me know how they worked in your class.

NewspaperMap



Newspaper Map is an awesome site that allows a user to locate newspapers from all over the world. A user can help narrow down the papers by setting the search parameters in the upper left corner. I can see this being great for our World Language classes and for our Social Studies classes as well. Take a look and see all of the different papers out there and how they might be used in your class.


Encyclopedia of Life

Another amazing site passes along by Kelly Tenkely of iLearnTechnology.com. This great sites has wonderful interactive materials for the biodiversity of the planet. There are videos that student can watch and go in-depth as they research the various organisms on Earth. This could be a great resource for Science Teachers across the district.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tech Tuesday for October 11

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone. I have some fun links to share with you this week.

I've been in almost every building on the South end this week and you guys are doing some amazing things. I cannot wait to see more fo you in action.

Here are some fun sites for learning!



Sum Cloud is a fun site for young math students that works great on the Smartboard. Using 6 different levels of difficulty, the game allows kids to take a look at the possible answers and select them. It's a fun game to have kids practice their Math skills.


This is a really fun site! If you want kids to work on their problem solving skills or maybe you want to have some fun in Physics class, take a look at this awesome site.


The students can move and rotate objects to create a device that get the ball into the container. There are many possible answers, but it is interesting to see what kids can come up with in class. You might ask the kids to come up with a soultion using all of the devices or as few as possible. This could be a fun lesson to share with your students that works great on the Smartboard.


Inside Story Flashcards is a great flashcard site for kids. Check it out!

My friend Kelly wrote an amazing review of a site I want to share with you, so I'm going to send you to her amazing site for the full run down. iLearnTechnology is a site filled with amazing resources and I encourage you do to some snooping around there. I'm not kidding when I say she has covered almost every educational site on the Internet. She is an amazing person and you need to check out her site.

I hope you nejoy the sites!

Give them a try!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tech Tuesday for October 4

Happy Tuesday everyone! Here are some cool things I wanted to share with you this week. I've had a chance to get into some of the school this week and I love what you are all doing. I see why we are one of the best districts in the state. Keep up the great work and let me know how I can support the wonderful things you do every day.

Outlook Tip

One of the things that teachers are now dealing with as they use their Smartboards more is having their computer screen on display at most of the time. That isn't a big problem, but some people have their email settings in such a away that it pops up to notify you when a new message appears. Sometimes, you do not want kids to see that, so here is a way to turn that off.

When you have opened your Outlook, you will see this icon next to the time. That is your Outlook icon. 

Move your arrow over the icon and right click on your mouse.


To get rid of the "Show New Mail Desktop Alert", simple click the heading and the check will vanish. You will no longer get the notifications while working on other documents. If you want to turn it back on, just follow the same directions and select the heading again to turn them on.

Math Fun!

Here are some fun sites I found on my Google Reader. Thanks to Karen Ogen and her site  InTec InSights: Technology Integration Ideas for the Classroom for the info. Here are just a couple. Please check out her sight for more information.

Squirt The Dog

Banana Hunt
I hope everyone has a great week and I hope to see many of you in your classroom very soon.

Give it a try!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Tech Tuesday for 9/27

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! I hope the week is going well. I have a couple of things I want to share with you that you might find helpful.


I want to remind everyone that Mike and I have split the district to best help teachers with their technology curriculum needs.


Mike: North, Parcells, Ferry, Mason, Poupard, Kerby, Monteith and Barnes.

Nick: South, Brownell, Pierce, Defer, Maire, Richard, Trombly and Barnes.

Feel free to email us and set a time to meet. We have already been in some buildings helping teachers and it has been great. We look forward to meeting with you helping you integrate technology into your already brilliant lesson plans.

I found this on my Google Reader the other day and I love it. This site has over 250 pictures that pose a question for the reader. Here is one example that I love,


Here is another fun one,




I think this would be great for most ages at the start of class. Check it out and see how you could use it.


This is just a fun site that would be great for little kids. It allows you to draw pictures that interact with a preset story. This would be great to use on a Smartboard.

This is a great article on Edutopia on the use of Cell Phones in the classroom. The article has some links to sites that are designed to help teachers utilize the cellphones the students have in class. If you have been thinking of ways to use the phones in your classroom, here is the perfect article for you.

I hope you find these sites helpful. If you have something you would love to share with the rest of the district, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Give it a try!

Nick Provenzano

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tech Tuesday for September 20

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! I hope this day find you all doing very well. Attached to the email was the Notebook file that will show you some neat tricks to do with the upgraded Notebook Software. Many of these features were new to me and this file was helpful in walking me through them. Note: Some of the features are for the new Smartboards and are not compatible with our boards. They are marked with an 800 next to them.

Here are some great links I wanted to share with all of you on using the Clickers and a website for Science Teachers.

Smart Response Clickers

This is a nice little site that will walk you through signing up with Clickers and using them in class.

Importing from Microsoft into Notebook for Clickers

This link will show you how to import exams you already have created into Smart Notebook so you do not have to start from scratch. It's a really helpful page.

Sun Moon Scope

Here is a write up of an interactive site that would work great on your Smartboard. It's a tool that allows people to see the movement of the sun and the moon. It's worth a check for all of the Science teachers out there.

These are just a few great resources I found this week. If you find something great, please feel free to share it with me so I can pass it on to everyone else.

As always, give it a try!

Nick

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tech Tuesday for 9/13

Happy Tuesday everyone. I hope the first week of the school year has gone smoothly for all of you. I hope your tech issues have been resolved. If not, please know that everyone is working hard to get everything going. If you are still having problems, please contact the Help Desk to make sure they are aware of any issue you might have.

Here is the text from an email Mike sent out on Monday. We are excited to get into your classrooms and look forward to hearing from all of you.

Hello,

This year, Nick Provenzano and myself will be filling the technology curriculum specialist roles at .5 FTE each. Our role is to help you incorporate technology into your curriculum and your instruction. We are looking forward to getting into classroom to work with you and your students on technology-based lessons, projects and training.  We are both teaching in the morning and are available from late morning through the rest of the school day and after school as needed.

In order to organize and schedule as efficiently as possible, we are going to split our coverage geographically.  I’ll be covering the north end of the district and Nick will cover the south end.  While this is how we will generally be dividing things, we will be very flexible in scheduling for specific needs and to meet specific requests. We will each be in every building at some point.  We’ll also be spending time in buildings for drop-in training, help with projects, learning new tools for instruction, etc.   
Contact us at any time to bring us in.  We’ll be contacting teachers and administrators to arrange visits and training.

As always, for any hardware or software related problems, troubleshooting, etc., contact helpdesk at 5199. 

Thanks,
Mike and Nick

Mike: North, Parcells, Ferry, Mason, Poupard, Kerby, Monteith and Barnes.
Nick: South, Brownell, Pierce, Defer, Maire, Richard, Trombly and Barnes.


Here are some great resources I have found the past couple of weeks.

SMART Resources

Here is a link to some quick SMART resources that you might find helpful. One of the tips involves changing the language of Notebook. This could be great for our language teachers. If you look around the site, you might find some other tips worth sharing.

RealWorldMath.org

Real World Math is a resource offering free math lessons and activities for grades 4-10. The unique feature of these lessons is they are presented on the virtual globe of Google Earth.

How to use a Google Calendar

Here are some great tips on how to use your Google Calendar if you have one.

How to use your Outlook Calendar

Here is a video that shows you some tips and tricks to Microsoft Outlook.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and I will have more for you in the next week or so.

Have a great day!

Nick

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome Back #GPPSS

Welcome back everyone! It is wonderful to be back in this great district ready to help our students achieve all of their goals and dreams.

My schedule has changed a bit from last year. I will be teaching 3 sections of English at South and the rest of the day will be dedicated to working with all of you to integrate technology into your curriculum.

My number one job is gong to be getting into your classroom, when invited, and work with you on integrating technology to best fit your needs. I'm currently working on the best way to reach out to all of you, so please be patient as we start the year.

I look forward to working with all of and your curriculum to find the best way to utilize the tools we have for the lesson you are creating. Just using any tool doesn't make the lesson better, the right tool for the right lesson is needed to get the most out of it.

The blog will be up and running and I will be sharing great resources as I stumble across them.

Here are some great tips from Greg Johnson of North and Scott Peltier of South. If you have great tips you would like to share, leave a comment on the post or shoot me an email.

From Greg: LCD Adjustment


The screen resolution on the teacher computer monitor was adjusted over the summer to 1280x1024. However at that resolution, the LCD projectors do not provide the correct image size on the Smartboard (left and right vertical sides are blank).

If you would like to lower your monitor’s resolution back to 1024x768 so that the image from the LCD projector will fit the Smartboard properly, please submit a helpdesk request so that it can be changed.


From Scott: Pinnacle Seating Charts

I found out that there are some who are not familiar with the seating chart in Pinnacle. Trust me, it is so much easier than Zangle’s version. Just drag the photos wherever you wish and print.




I hope everyone had a great summer and are ready to keep this the best district in the state.

- Nicholas Provenzano

@MrProvenzano

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tech Tuesday 5/24

Tech Tuesday

Sorry for the long delay between posts, but I was becoming a first time daddy! Leonardo Nicholas Provenzano was born on Mother’s Day. He’s an adorable baby boy with the cutest little smile.

I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has been supportive of this blog for the past year and a half. I’ve worked very hard to provide the best sources to support the amazing things you do in your classrooms. However, this is going to be my last post.
Keeping up with the blog is a full time job. Reviewing sites and seeing where they would fit took many hours of outside of school and those are now reserved for Baby Leo. I still have my personal blog that will be updated regularly. You can stop by TheNerdyTeacher.com anytime. I’m still a full time English teacher and I want to focus my energy on creating amazing lessons for the kids in my classroom. I will still try to help teachers when I can, but in my current position, I can’t keep the blog going. Below you will find some great sites from friends of mine that share a tremendous amount of resources for the classroom. Please bookmark their site and see what they have to offer. It’s been fun sharing with all of you and hope to be able to do it again.

iLearntechnology.com

This is an awesome site run by one of my bestest friends. Kelly provides wonderful resources for all ages. She is always willing to help teachers with questions and point them in the right direction when needed. She is currently involved with creating a new school in Denver. She is a tech rockstar.

 http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

Here is a great site run by Richard Byrne. He fills it with tons of great resources for teachers to use in the classroom.

The Daring Librarian

I love this site. It is not for librarians only though. Gwenyth Jones is an awesome person that I will have the pleasure of presenting with this summer in Phildelphia at the national tech conference. She really takes an exciting approach to tech integration and shares amazing resources.

Thanks again for the support!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tech Tuesday May 3

The Epic Romeo and Juliet Project

After a few months of hardwork and dedication, the collaboration between Van Meter High School and Grosse Pointe has produced an amazing version of Romeo and Juliet that I am happy to share with you.

Grosse Pointe South students wrote, acted, directed and did everything possible to film Acts 1,3 and 5 while the students of Van Meter did the same for Acts 2 and 4. I'm very proud of what they accomplished and wanted to share the final product with all of you.

If you are a South teacher and you recognize any of the student actors, please compliment them. It wasn't easy to get in front of students and act out one of Shakespeare's most famous plays.

Enjoy.

The Epic Romeo and Juliet Project Movie

Smartboard Resources

Thanks to  Melissa Edwards and her blog Technology: Figuring Out How The Pieces Fit for finding this resource and sharing it. Thanks Melissa!

Here is a link to some great SmartBoard resources. This is for all grades and covers the ranges of subjects. If you are having trouble finding sites to use on your SmartBoard that will keep your students involved in the lesson. Take a look around these different pages and pick out what you like.

http://livebinders.com/play/play?id=7376

P.S. Livebinders is really awesome and I use it in my classes. The kids like having the information in one place. Check out this post if you are curious about Livebinders.

- Give it a try!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tech Tuesday - April 13

Cool Science Stuff

Cell Biology Animation is a great site for 3D pictures of different aspects of Cellular Biology. Here is a great example of DNA Transcription. These are some great little pieces that could help the visual learners in the classroom.
Science Experiments - This site is filled with wonderful resources for science students and teachers. There are links to research sites, an experiment blog, science videos, and much much more. Take a look around and see what it has to offer.


iLearnTechnology

I wanted to use this Tech Tuesday to give a shout out to an amazing blogger and provide a great resource for all of the non-high school teachers in the district. If you only look at one other blog the rest of the school year, this one needs to be it.This blog needs to be your go to spot for all things Elementary School Tech. There are so many great reviews of sites and tools there have been times I actually wish I taught the little ones just so I could play with these sites. Try not to be overwhelmed by the volume of posts. Just take your time and sift through the different tools and find one that fits you and your class best.

ILearnTechnology is an amazing blog run by Kelly Tenkely (@ktenkely) and it won the 2009 Edublog Award for Educational Technology and Support Blog. The blog is very deserving of the award. Kelly provides a rundown on many different web applications on her blog. Here is a screen shot of a post of hers.


As you can see, she breaks down each review into What it is, How to integrate and Tips. She does this with her post to not only explain how these tools work, but she offers suggestions on how to use them in the classroom. With some bloggers or tech people, they tell you about a tool, but fail to really tell you how they would or have used it in the classroom. Kelly is not one of those people. She works very hard to post many new and exciting reviews of interesting tools that can add something great to your every day lessons. 

Kelly is also an avid tweeter and is always dropping bits of information that I, as well as many others, find very helpful throughout any given day. Every Elementary school teacher interested in integrating more technology should have ILearnTechnology bookmarked on their browser and saved on the desktop. Stop by her site and leave her a comment if you find something helpful or have a question about using the tool in your class. She is one of the friendliest people out there and is great at responding to comments on her posts. 

I hope you find this site helpful and I will continue to direct other grade levels to blogs and people that might offer better suggestions and reviews of grade appropriate tech tools. 

Graph it Forward


I stumbled upon this cool site and I wanted to share it with all of the teachers out there. We have many students that graduate school and have no use of their fancy graphing calculators in college. Graph It Forward is a great program designed to collect these unused calculators and distribute them to needy students by SAT time on June 5th. Having a graphing calculator can increase a students ACT Math score by as much as 4 points and their SAT score by 70! It seems crazy to think that students are attempting these tests without the tools necessary to be successful.

I think this could be a great project for school clubs/organizations to take up near the end of the school year. There are too many students that take these high stakes tests without calculators. Here is a great way to help many students get great scores on tests and help them get into college. I hope you can help this great group!

Win an iPad2!

You read that correctly. The free conference I am organizing, EdcampDetroit, is giving away 2 iPad2s to those who attend EdcampDetroit! If you decide to present at EdcampDetroit, you actually will have 2 chances to win the iPad2s! The conference is Saturday May 7th and we less than 50 spots left. I want to make sure the people in my district have a shot at these awesome tech tools. Besides the iPads, there is an iPod Nano, classroom subscriptions to wonderful websites like BrainPop and StrataLogica. TechSmith will be giving away copies of Camtasia and other goodies just for attending EdcampDetroit.

The best thing about this conference is that it is FREE! This is a great chance to get together with teachers from around the Metro Detroit area to share ideas and grow as a teachers. We already have a couple of Grosse Pointe teachers registered, but I would love to see more. Once word of the door prizes spread, registration is going to fill up quickly. Here is some of the key info you need about EdcampDetroit.


Excited? Click here to be taken to registration!



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tech Tuesday 3/29

Win an iPad2!

You read that correctly. The free conference I am organizing, EdcampDetroit, is giving away 2 iPad2s to those who attend EdcampDetroit! If you decide to present at EdcampDetroit, you actually will have 2 chances to win the iPad2s! The conference is Saturday May 7th and we only have 100 spots left. I want to make sure the people in my district have a shot at these awesome tech tools. Besides the iPads, there is an iPod Nano, classroom subscriptions to wonderful websites like BrainPop and StrataLogica. TechSmith will be giving away copies of Camtasia and other goodies just for attending EdcampDetroit.

The best thing about this conference is that it is FREE! This is a great chance to get together with teachers from around the Metro Detroit area to share ideas and grow as a teachers. We already have a couple of Grosse Pointe teachers registered, but I would love to see more. Once word of the door prizes spread, registration is going to fill up quickly. Here is some of the key info you need about EdcampDetroit.


Excited? Click here to be taken to registration!


The Epic Romeo and Juliet Project

For the past month, my students have been working on an amazing project. My Freshmen are putting together a joint production of Romeo and Juliet with Van Meter High School in Van Meter, Iowa. My kids are producing Acts 1, 3 and 5 and Van Meter is working on Acts 2 and 4. The students are in charge of every aspect of the production. They are re-writing the script to modernize it for the movie. They are making props, designing costumes, coming up with a soundtrack, creating advertising and everything that you can think of that a movie might need. I have never seen the kids so engaged in Shakespeare in my life. The goal for the project is to have a joint Premiere on April 30th. The kids are excited and I can't wait to see what happens next.

I'm sharing this with you for two reasons. The first is to brag. These kids are kicking butt and I think the district should know all about it. The other reason is to show everyone how the tools I share with you can be used in the classroom.

Wiki - The Epic Romeo and Juliet Project uses a wiki to keep everything organized. I needed a place where kids from all over could edit and share information. A wiki is great for that because it is free, easy to use and it can be edited from anywhere once a person has permission to join the wiki. We have used it to upload the completed script, post due dates, post filming schedules and post student blogs. This project would be 10 times harder without a wiki.

Blogs - The project would be easy if students were just working in class every day for 2 months. I still wanted to incorporate writing in the unit. The more they write, the more they think about the story. Every student created a blog and is required to post on it once or twice a week (depending on their job in the production) as they work on the project. We have hit speed bumps along the way, but I get to check their work without having to take home tons of paperwork. I'm sure I have saved a forest or two by using the blogs. Here are a few examples. Juliet's Blog - Benvolia's Blog (We cast Benvolio as a girl because the student was amazing and we were out of female roles.) - Advertising Blog - Soundtrack - Props. Take some time to look at rest of the blogs found on the wiki. They have all Grosse Pointe and Van Meter student blogs labeled by job title.

Skype - We have had a couple of Skype sessions with the students of Van Meter. We plan on having some more before production ends April 15th. We had a Skype session last week that was simply amazing. The kids spent close to 30 minutes discussing the importance of color and the possible symbolic meanings behind what the characters could be wearing. I'm angry I did not set up a screen cast of the session because I would love to share it with all of you. Connecting with the other students in Iowa has really motivated my students to work harder because they have a bigger audience.

The other students have used various Web tools to add to parts of the production. Some students have created Twitter accounts for the characters and are going to start tweeting as the characters during the production. Some have created Facebook accounts and will have some of those up and running to share with other students. Some are creating digital poster boards using Glogster. The kids have really immersed themselves in this production in ways I never imagined.

I'm not suggesting that every teacher dive head first into big projects that require so many moving parts. I do suggest trying out some of these tools in your class and see how your students respond. This project is a culmination of a years worth of tech integration with my students and there is a ton more I wish I had time to show them. If you want to follow the craziness of this project, check out my other blog where I update the project almost daily. You can read about the ups and downs and how I'm trying to contact Taylor Swift to get the rights to her music for the production.

Now on to the tech tool of the week.

Diigo

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that from my students. Another one I love to hear is, "What do you mean I can't use Wikipedia as a source?" As an English Teacher, I have spent many long hours teaching students how to conduct proper searches on the internet. They should never be able to tell you that they were never taught how to properly cite information or where to look that information up.

With that having been said, sometimes I just want my students to look at a few specific websites for a specific project. I have started using a great site I want to share with you great teachers. The site is called Diigo and it is a bookmarking site.

"Why do I need a bookmarking site?" Well, bookmarking sites are a way for you to save all of those wonderful websites you have found or I have sent you. We all have bookmarks on our computer at home and at school. The problem with saving them on our home and work computers is that we can access what we have on the other computer. Diigo, and similar bookmarking sites, solve this problem.

Bookmarking sites save all of your bookmarks on their site so you can access them from any computer with internet access. If you find a great site at home while working, just bookmark it with Diigo and you will not have to worry about emailing yourself the link. The links are very easy to share with other teachers and even students. There are tons of great things you can do with this wonderful tool.

Highlighting - You can highlight specific information before you bookmark the site. This can save people time when there is to much information to read through and all you want is a few lines.

Sticky Notes - You can places notes on the highlighted areas to remind you of their relevance. There have been too many times where I have bookmarked a site and I could not remember why I saved it a day or so later.

Groups - You can create specific groups and send pages you find to that group only. You can make the group a public group (anyone can join) or a private group (you select who can join). I have used the groups to store specific websites I want different classes to look at. It has cut research time in half for my students on various projects.

Email - You can directly email any site you find to yourself or other teachers. You can create an address book and send the site directly to students or to other teachers in your department.

Teacher Account - You can request to sign up for a Teacher Account from Diigo. This will allow you to sign up students to join your specific groups that you have created. I have a Teacher Account and I plan on using it with my Freshmen for their research project. Goodbye note cards and hello Diigo.

Linking Accounts - Diigo allows you to link your blog and Twitter accounts to your Diigo account. This way, if you bookmark something, it can be posted to you blog and your Twitter. You can set up a your account to post all the bookmarks you have made to your blog. It can be set for a daily, twice daily or weekly. This is a great way to save you time. You can also link your iPhone to Diigo as well. Download the Diigo App and you will have access to anything that you have bookmarked. It might be available for other phones, but you would have to check for that.

The best way to start bookmarking after you create your account is to download the toolbar. It will sit at the top of your browser and you just click the bookmark button when you want to share a website. There are many other great parts of Diigo that you can use. It's best to log on and play around a bit.

As always, give it a try!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 15th Tech Tuesday

Here are three really cools sites for the kids in the classroom and your kids at home. Take a look at these sites and see how you might use them in the classroom. Give it a try!


50States.com



One of my favorite projects I did in grade school was researching my state. Every kid in class was assigned a different state and I was the lucky one that pulled my home state of Michigan out of the hat. I thought I knew everything there was to know about my home, but there was so much information that I found out about Michigan. The only problem was that I had to search high and low (pre-internet) for current information. I wish I had access to 50States.com back then because my job would have been much easier.

50States.com is a wonderful resource for all things US States. It even has information on US Territories and Commonwealths.



50States.com also offers a tremendous list of resources for kids to look at. State birds, state trees and even state songs, are all provided by 50States.com.



This is a very simple and free site for teachers, parents and students to access to find the most up-to-date information on their favorite state. This is a wonderful site for all social studies teachers to bookmark and share with students. Take a moment and see how this great site can be used in the classroom or in the home.




Walking with Dinosaurs

I loved Dinosaurs! Who didn’t have a favorite growing up? I’m actually shocked I haven’t written about a good Dinosaur site yet. The BBC has a great site dedicated to all things Dinosaur related. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/dinosaurs/ The site covers everything from the different types of dinosaurs to how fossils are formed to the theories surrounding their mass extinction.



With video and wonderful supporting stories, there are plenty of resources for many different age groups. If you are interested in having kids do research on dinosaurs, check out http://dinodictionary.com/ for all of your dino needs.



This site has everything you could possibly need from a research standpoint. Just type in the name of the dinosaur you are looking for and you will be taken to page filled with information. http://dinodictionary.com/ is actually part of http://www.dinodatabase.com, which has even more information on dinosaurs and their lives on earth. They are a great pair of sites for any kid that needs information on their favorite dinosaur.


Earth Rangers

According to their website,

Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that believes in the power of kids like you to take action to help protect wildlife. We have an amazing web site, EarthRangers.com, with information about the crisis facing wildlife (the Biodiversity Crisis) and more importantly, about what YOU can do about it. You can also find out more about some amazing animals that are at risk of extinction, connect with other Rangers across Canada and play eco-games!”



You do not have to be Canadian to want to save the planet so sign up your kids to play some fun games and learn some important things about conservation and wildlife. Every state has their own wildlife and conservation concerns and this site could be a great way to start a conversation with kids and have them look at local issues and what they can do to help. Adults around the world are working hard to save the planet, but it is important that we get the younger generations excited and educated about the dangers of deforestation and pollution.

As kid sites go, this site is fun for all ages and I found myself playing the different games for almost 45 minutes before I even realized it. I found plenty of interesting articles that kids could take home from school to read or find on their own. I found an article about a recently discovered type of fungus that turns ants in zombie ants!



I always get excited when I find little gems like this on the web. It is great to see sites that are dedicated to teaching kids about very important issues. EarthRangers.com is a wonderful site that is worth sharing with your kids. Heck, it’s worth sharing with your friends. You might be surprised at what you will learn once you log in.
 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tech Tuesday for March 1

Here is the Tech Tuesday for March 1. We have a spelling site, a science site and a math site. I also have more information on the conference I'm putting together in May. Also, check out the TheTowerPulse.net if you haven't stopped by recently. The kids are doing great things. Feel free to email me with any questions. Have a great day!

The Spelling Bee

The Spelling Bee from Annenberg Media is a great free site for students of all grades that need to work on their spelling skills. There are many different things I love about this site, but here are just a couple.


It allows the user to choose the grade level. That doesn’t seem like a crazy feature, but the site has grades 1 – 12! Grades 1 – 5 are separate levels and the following grades are grouped like this: 6 – 8, 9 – 10 and 11 – 12. Most spelling sites tend to stop with the Middle School or Junior High grade level, but this site goes all the way through high school. I have too many high school students that have trouble spelling without the computer. The Spelling Bee can help students in all grade levels.

Another awesome feature is the way the words are presented. The words are not isolated; they are integrated as part of sentences that are read aloud. Each word fills in a blank and the goal of the user is to spell the word in the correct blank. Using words in sentences is a far better way to learn vocabulary and practice spelling. The Spelling Bee does a nice job pulling it all together.


As spelling sites go, The Spelling Bee is one of my favorites and it can really help those students that struggle with spelling at school. This site is worth a bookmark.
Try Science!
 
 


At a young age, many kids love Science, but grow out of it. TryScience.org is a great site that can help grow and nurture the passion for Science in kids. According to TryScience.org,

TryScience.org is your gateway to experience the excitement of contemporary science and technology through on and offline interactivity with science and technology centers worldwide. Science is exciting, and it's for everyone! That's why TryScience and over 400 science centers worldwide invite you to investigate, discover, and try science yourself.”

TryScience.org offers fun and interactive experiments that young children can try from the comfort of their own home and without the mess! From topics ranging from Chemistry to Space Sciences, a large variety of topics are covered to support the varied interests of kids.

TryScience.org also provides live camera feeds of Science Centers from around the country. Students can see anything from dinosaurs in Maryland to submarines in Oregon. It’s a great chance to see some amazing museums without stepping foot outside.

If parents are looking for more hands-on options for their kids, TryScience.org provides experiments that can be done at home. This is a great way to bring the science from the computer to the kitchen. Although working on the computer can be fun, getting your hands a little dirty with a science experiment can be even more fun.

TryScience.org is a great site dedicated to bringing science to kids all over the world. If you have a child that loves science, they will love TryScience.org. It is worth a bookmark for future use.

Sumdog

Teachers are always looking for ways to make Math more exciting. Now, there is a site that aims to do just that! Sumdog is a very fun and exciting site that turns basic math numeracy into competitive games for kids. Kids can sign up for a free account and challenge students from all over the world. Kids can race cars or play musical instruments to achieve various goals. However, the car will not go or you will hit the wrong note if you are unable to answer the math questions presented.

There are 10 different levels ranging from basic addition to complex multiplication and division tables. Students can adjust the level of difficulty as they play to give themselves a more difficult challenge. Each account will keep track of statistics so kids can see how they have done over time. Sumdog is a wonderful site that takes the creativity found in the gaming world and mixes it with the world of Math. This site is a great way to get kids hooked on playing educational games with friends and family instead of spending too much time playing games with little to no educational value at all.


Teachers can set up free accounts for the students in their room and keep track of student progress as a class. This is another fun way to incorporate computer games in the classroom. The students might think it is free time, but it will also be learning time. Overall, Sumdog is worth bookmarking on your computer.

Edcamp Detroit

The spots are filling up fast and will be practially gone after the state tech conference. Sign up soon!
Last May, a bunch of teachers organized an event called #edcampPhilly. The event was an unconference. The cool thing about an unconference is that all of the sessions are run by the people who show up. The schedule is loose to allow people to talk about whatever they want. #edcampPhilly was a huge success and edcamps started to appear all over the country. I attended one in New York City and Kansas City to see how they worked and meet some friends that I've been working with online for a few months. After seeing how they operated, I'm proud to announce that #edcampDetroit is open for registration! After tons of planning and organziation, we have a location (Wayne State University's College of Education), a date (Saturday May 7), Sponsors (Click the link to see. More are being added every day) and a price (Free!).

I have spent a ton of time this past year attending conferences and learning many great things. Despite some of the awesome sessions I attended, I always seemed to learn the most from talking and sharing with other teachers around me. The purpose of an edcampis to connect the teachers directly. Teachers have so many great ideas and practices, but they are not often given a chance to share them with others in their own school. Edcamp is a way to bring these teachers with great ideas together from all over to help the students in the classroom.

I would love to see a strong showing from my District at this event. I think I teach in one of the best districts in the country and would love to show everyone the amazign things that our teachers do each and every day. This conference is not a tech conference! This conference is about sharing ideas that work. Best practices for teaching various subject matter. Administrations isues could be addressed. There are countless topics and many conversations that can be had because we all work so hard at our jobs and it would be just greedy not to share with other teachers eager to learn.

We are limited in space (250 Max), so please click here to register. Space is filling up and will get jammed after we spread the word in March at MACUL, so sign up sooner than later. Maybe our district would even give us conference or workshop hours for attending (cough cough hint hint). Please pass this conferecne along to any other teachers you might now. A ton of work goes into putting on a free conference and I would love to share it with some of the best teachers I know. Thanks in advance.

Here is a video #edcampPhilly put together that does a nice job explaining #edcamp.



Give these great tools a try and see what they can do for you and your students.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tech Tuesday February 8

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! Here is a collection of goodies you might want to use in your classroom. I've provided more information on the tech conference I'll be hosting with Wayne State University on May 7th.


Stag'D! - Here is a great site that I heard about from @ktenkely and her blog iLearnTechnology. Check out the complete review that she gave the site here. Long story short, Stag'D allows students to tell stories in 3D. I can see this being used in many different ways in my English class. I could have students use it to re-create events from stories we are reading to emphasize themes, symbols, motifs, etc. Social studies classes could use this to re-create historical moments or speeches. It is another fun and interactive tool that allows students to not just learn material, but to create with it. Creating with the new information has made a real difference in my classes and I think Stag'D is another great tool to facilitate that creativity.

Learning Word Order on the SmartBoard

Here is a nice little site I came across that will allow teachers to use their Smartboards in class with the elementary Students. Click here to be taken to a fun site that allows students to manipulate the words on the screen and place them in the correct order to form a coherent sentence. The cool part is that the computer will say the word that is touched by the students. Once all of the words are in place. just touch each word in order and it will read the sentence to you.

This site has great programs that will work wonders on the SmartBoard. Under Social Studies, there are some games that require students to touch and drag the names of States to the correct location on the map.

At times, I know that I have found it difficult to find applications to use my SmartBoard effectively. This website is a great resource for elementary and middle school teachers looking to find ways to get their students up out of their seat and actively participating in the class discussion. Take a look around and see if you find something particularly interesting and share it with others.

MathTrain.tv

MathTrain.Tv is a wonderful site provides more Math help through video, but the thing that separates this from other Math sites is that the videos are created and uploaded by students. It's students helping students. This is a great concept to explore in your classroom. Imagine offering credit or extra credit to students that create Math videos to post to this site or even your own school website. Sometimes we learn ideas better if we have to teach them. This site is a great example of how Math can be interactive and use technology to spread ideas.

Tubechop.com

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. Below you will find a chopped version of The Ghostbusters Music Video by Ray Parker Jr. The orginal clip has an extra minute at the end that I don't need to see, so I chopped it out. Take a look at the video.





For those that like to show video of interviews or clips from movies, this is a great way to condense that information. No longer will you have to waste class time searching for the right part of the clip you want to show. You can set it up ahead of time and post on your website for kids to use safely.


Project PLN - The Passion Issue

Here is the February Issue of Project PLN. It is a collection of post from teachers all over the country explaining why they are passionate about education. It's a great read and I hope you will take a second to look it over.









Edcamp Detroit

I have one teacher from North and a student teacher from South signed up for edcamp Detroit. Over 60 educators from all over the Mid West and Canada have signed up. Come join the fun on Saturday May 7th.

Last May, a bunch of teachers organized an event called #edcampPhilly. The event was an unconference. The cool thing about an unconference is that all of the sessions are run by the people who show up. The schedule is loose to allow people to talk about whatever they want. #edcampPhilly was a huge success and edcamps started to appear all over the country. I attended one in New York City and Kansas City to see how they worked and meet some friends that I've been working with online for a few months. After seeing how they operated, I'm proud to announce that #edcampDetroit is open for registration! After tons of planning and organziation, we have a location (Wayne State University's College of Education), a date (Saturday May 7), Sponsors (Click the link to see. More are being added every day) and a price (Free!).

I have spent a ton of time this past year attending conferences and learning many great things. Despite some of the awesome sessions I attended, I always seemed to learn the most from talking and sharing with other teachers around me. The purpose of an edcampis to connect the teachers directly. Teachers have so many great ideas and practices, but they are not often given a chance to share them with others in their own school. Edcamp is a way to bring these teachers with great ideas together from all over to help the students in the classroom.

I would love to see a strong showing from my District at this event. I think I teach in one of the best districts in the country and would love to show everyone the amazign things that our teachers do each and every day. This conference is not a tech conference! This conference is about sharing ideas that work. Best practices for teaching various subject matter. Administrations isues could be addressed. There are countless topics and many conversations that can be had because we all work so hard at our jobs and it would be just greedy not to share with other teachers eager to learn.

We are limited in space (250 Max), so please click here to register. Space is filling up and will get jammed after we spread the word in March at MACUL, so sign up sooner than later. Maybe our district would even give us conference or workshop hours for attending (cough cough hint hint). Please pass this conferecne along to any other teachers you might now. A ton of work goes into putting on a free conference and I would love to share it with some of the best teachers I know. Thanks in advance.

Here is a video #edcampPhilly put together that does a nice job explaining #edcamp.



Give these great tools a try and see what they can do for you and your students.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tech Tuesday - Feb 1



Storybook Web is great collection of activities for young children aged 5-8. The site uses popular stories by authors Scoular Anderson, Debi Glioro, Mairi Hedderwick and Frank Rodgers. There are many interactive activities that teachers can do with their students as they watch and listen to authors read parts of their books and answer questions on how they are inspired to write. The site has writing activities for students that really allows them to connect to the story and the author.

Storybook Web is a great site for teachers to use with students to support their love of reading and writing. More and more computer sites are becoming interactive because kids want to play and learn at the same time. Storybook Web does a great job of combining these two elements into one site. This site is worth saving in your bookmarks for hours of reading fun with with students.



Thanks to iLearnTechnology for the find. 

Chemistry Livebinder

Here is a Chemistry Livebinder from my friend Kelly. She runs an amazing site called iLearnTechnology.This Livebinder is filled with videos, multiple periodic tables, links to various chemistry simulations, chemistry websites and chemistry games. I think this is a great site for Chemistry teachers looking to integrate more technology in their class on on their website. Their are many resources on here that students could find useful.

Mr. Thorne Does Phonics

This is a fun site that helps students with Phonics using videos created by Mr. Thorne. The videos focus on grammar, vowel sounds, consonant sounds, alternative sounds and spellings and much more. I think this is a fun site that would be wonderful for younger students learning to read. These videos could be incorporated to the classroom once or twice a week to change up the normal lessons. See how you could use Mr. Thorne Does Phonics in your classroom.



Edcamp Detroit

Last May, a bunch of teachers organized an event called #edcampPhilly. The event was an unconference. The cool thing about an unconference is that all of the sessions are run by the people who show up. The schedule is loose to allow people to talk about whatever they want. #edcampPhilly was a huge success and edcamps started to appear all over the country. I attended one in New York City and Kansas City to see how they worked and meet some friends that I've been working with online for a few months. After seeing how they operated, I'm proud to announce that #edcampDetroit is open for registration! After tons of planning and organziation, we have a location (Wayne State University's College of Education), a date (Saturday May 7), Sponsors (Click the link to see. More are being added every day) and a price (Free!).

I have spent a ton of time this past year attending conferences and learning many great things. Despite some of the awesome sessions I attended, I always seemed to learn the most from talking and sharing with other teachers around me. The purpose of an edcampis to connect the teachers directly. Teachers have so many great ideas and practices, but they are not often given a chance to share them with others in their own school. Edcamp is a way to bring these teachers with great ideas together from all over to help the students in the classroom.

I would love to see a strong showing from my District at this event. I think I teach in one of the best districts in the country and would love to show everyone the amazign things that our teachers do each and every day. This conference is not a tech conference! This conference is about sharing ideas that work. Best practices for teaching various subject matter. Administrations isues could be addressed. There are countless topics and many conversations that can be had because we all work so hard at our jobs and it would be just greedy not to share with other teachers eager to learn.

We are limited in space (250 Max), so please click here to register. Space is filling up and will get jammed after we spread the word in March at MACUL, so sign up sooner than later. Maybe our district would even give us conference or workshop hours for attending (cough cough hint hint). Please pass this conferecne along to any other teachers you might now. A ton of work goes into putting on a free conference and I would love to share it with some of the best teachers I know. Thanks in advance.

Here is a video #edcampPhilly put together that does a nice job explaining #edcamp.