Friday, February 22, 2013

Google Reader

Google Reader is one of the top five services I use from Google on a regular basis as it helps me keep current on trends for education and all other topics I find of interest.  It is pretty easy to get started as you just have to find the url address for a web site copy it and the paste it into the big red subscribe button on your google reader home page.

There is a YouTube Google Reader Channel that offers up videos on the in's and out's of using Google Reader.

You can link to any RSS feed into your Google Reader account and then use Google reader or my personal choice "Feedly" to read all of your updates.

Once you find a good collection of feeds you can bundle them and share them on your website, Facebook page, blog or various other places you can use embed code.

Learning Upgraded

This is a YouTube channel that is called Learning Upgraded that features math and english concepts that are used in their online learning program.  There are limited amount of videos for both math and english as they would like you or your school to sign up for their online tutorial business, but if they are offering free videos you can always use them in your classroom as well as a way of introducing a given topic.  The videos can seem a little "over the top" but you students will probably remember them because of that.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Google Books and Magazines

Google Books and Magazines is a collection of books and magazines that are available to access for students and teachers. Some are complete works especially if they have a copyright date before 1923 and if the copyright is after 1923 it may be a complete copy or they may have a limited preview of the material. The limited preview could be upwards of 80% or more of the book or magazine.

There are curently 1 million books for download including what many people would consider the classics. Other books have a preview which means random papes are withheld from the preview. Although you can not see the entire book, you can get a feel for what is being presented and maybe be able to find valuable quotes for your research paper that you put off till the last minute and the library is closed.

If find an interesting book or magazine you can also embeded into your website or blog post at the page you found interesting.  Not all books and magazines can be embedded but you can link to some great resources that one can use in the classroom.

Some files that seem like they should embed just won't work properly but they do create a link to the google book or magazine page number so that you could post a link to an article you could have your students read and respond to for a class assignment as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

30 Days of Google

I decided that there are so many Google tools that we as educators could use that I will do a blog post a day about 1 tool for an entire month. The goal is to:
  • describe the tool
  • explain and/or give examples of how it is being used in the classroom
  • post a link as to where you can learn more information about a particular tool
  • potential lesson plans and/or resource links to lesson plans
  • list other websites that may be of use
This will be an annual event due to all that google provides not just for educators but to the world for free as long as you don't count those cute banner ads on the sides of your searches. I will be covering the main ones people know like google earth, bloger, etc, but I will also be covering some tools that not a lot of people take advantge of either like google books, voice, and other various tools that can be found here. My hope is that during the "30 days of Google" you will find something useful about the tools you are already using, and find a new tool or two that you are not using to add to your ever growing teaching toolkit. I will being this journey and wrap it up around the time spring breaks starts up here in Fairbanks, AK.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Quizlet - The Place to Study Vocabulary

Quizlet is easily one of my personal favorite websites for studying definitions. I only wish this was around when I was in high school and had to memorize well almost anything vocabualary wise. They have improved this site over the years with three features that I really like.

Students get instant feedback, they can track their progress and much more.  If you need students to learn vocabulary this is the site I wished I had 20 years ago to study vocabulary.

Pictures - You can now link pictures to your terms and definations for your students to study. This is especially useful when learning new words and for all of those visual learners out there.
Scatter - This is the second game that is availble to play to learn the vocabualry.
Social Network - You can now let your friends know what sets you are currently studying or creating through Facebook or MySpace.

If you have never been here before you can view and practice different sets without becoming a member, but you can not create your own. Once you are a member you can create your own set or share that task with a fellow teacher or student by inviting them into the process as well.

They have a detailed help menu to help you get started or learn advanced techniques to get the most out of Quizlet.

Below is a video explain the ins and outs of Quizlet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vernier Probeware

So we recently attended a district wide training session on Vernier Probeware with a local professor from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAF,  and had time to sit down and learn how we might use the probes within a math and science curriculum.  We also had a chance to see how students could use software for the iPads that might be useful as well.  There are close to 60 probes available for use in pre made labs or if you think of your own learning experience  you could easily create your own as well.  As for a Math teacher, you go to probes would be the motion detector and the temperature probes.  During this time I worked on a lab called Tic Toc found in the Real World Math book.  You can set up a Pendulum and have the students model and explore real life cosine functions and how to manipulate different aspects of a cosine function from amplitude, frequency, and the period.  I set up the Pendulum using an ice fishing rig, some string, and fishing takle bob.  But if you have real science equipment you could easily set it using equipment from the science department of your school as well.  We had a great turn out during this session and lots of interest using the equipment from teachers.  As I work with teachers district wide I will post about the learning opportunities that students have had and the engagement level of the labs as we proceed.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Excel Labs

So we as a district have started a district wide priority this year of doing one lesson for all 4th through 8th grade students using microsoft excel.  In grades 4th - 6th grade the content is delivered through the math classroom and the 7th and 8th grade lessons are delivered through the science classroom.  For the 7th and 8th grade lessons we looked at having the students learn about writing equations, learning to use the auto fill with equations, the stats formulas and framed it around the science concepts of "Why cells are small" for 7th grade students and is "Does solar power in Fairbanks, AK make economic sense?".  Students practice variable replacement, formula writing, drag fill for patterns, and answered questions based on the numbers and science behind each lesson.  I will post links to the lessons later on, but a sample of the 8th grade lesson can be found here.