Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology

Online Tools for Poetry in the Classroom

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

A few weeks back I twittered out to my PLN to get ideas for online resources that 4th grade could use in their poetry lessons. I wanted to share some of those ideas I got back with you.

1. http://www.Piclits.com
I tested this site out and had lots of fun with it. You can pick a background that goes with your poem and thin type your poem out on it. Or, you can accept the challenge to select a background and use a limited word bank to write a creative poem. I did both and it was a challenge but a good experience. I signed up for an account so I could embed the picture and poem into my wiki page or blog. That’s probably the coolest part about it. It generates the code for me to embed it. This is a cool way to share your poetry with the world, family or just your classroom.

2. http://www.voicethread.com
I played around with Voice Thread a year or so ago and introduced it to a lot of people but I never thought of using it as a tool for poetry. Good Idea! Students can create their poem on a Voice Thread and other students in the class can leave “constructive” comments on it. The final product can then be imbedded into a class wiki or blog. Voice Thread provides all the necessary code for it. This is an awesome idea! If you pay for the upgrade version you can even do more cool stuff, but I like free! (This is also a good way to teach your students about appropriate responses and constructive input.)

3. http://www.voki.com
I thought this was a good way to make every student want to do poetry. You can have all of your students create a personalized Voki Avatar that recites their poem. What kid wouldn’t want to create one of these? (This is also a good way to help your students with public speaking ability along with proper word annunciation.)

4. http://www.writerhymes.com/
Poetry often includes rhyming words and this tool can help them when they are stuck. You simply type in the word you want to rhyme hold down the Ctrl key and click it. It then gives you a nice list of words to pick from. They simply pick the word they need and continue writing. It’s kinda like the happy place between a Dictionary and a Thesaurus.

5. http://www.poetrycollaboration.wikispaces.com
This page has several good examples of poetry, ways to teach it and even a sample of a Voice Thread being used in a poetry lesson. It’s full of resources so check it out. It will take you to other great tools that can be used. It’s well worth a look.

Thanks to all who gave input via Twitter, helping to provide these awesome ideas! If you have other ideas, tools or links please leave a comment. Your ideas help others,thanks!

Tying in Current Events, week of 3/29/09

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Growing up, my generation wasn’t very exposed to the world around us. I do remember when one of our classrooms got a TV with cable so we could watch a space shuttle mission launch. Today our students have access to current events like never before due to things like twitter, facebook, mobile tv, personal home pages similar to Yahoo, RSS readers and TV in general. Yes, most of the current events that they adhere to are entertainment related, but none the less, they are involved.

We as teachers should take the current events of our time and build meaningful lessons out of them, but being careful to not push our own political views or ideals from the headlines but true meaningful lessons. Of course my goal is that you incorporate technology into that lesson.

So, in order to help, I’m going to start posting a “Tying in Technology to Current Events” posts every so often. This week I want to take a look at the new “White House Garden News” .

What lessons can be done from this? Just off the top of my head I think of:
1. Health – A study on the importance of Fruits and Vegetables.
2. Math – Students can do calculations for savings. Take a news paper add and determine what it would cost at the store to feed your family and then how much they saved by growing it themselves.
3. History – Have them research how gardens have helped in recessions of the past.
4. LA – Write a persuasive paper on why more people should grow home gardens.
5. Politics – Have students talk and write about what this does for the Obam’s politically.
6. Science – Turn this idea into a Science project for your school and grow a school garden.

The lessons are endless. These are not the only lessons in each of these areas that can be used. I can think of several more Math lessons as well as LA lessons. The important part is that you tie in current events with the student’s learning.

How do these lessons tying in technology? Each student should present his/her findings in some form of digital media, and the teacher should provide several digital medias for the student to resource for their projects. News articles, TV News Clips, etc.

Please, take the time to leave a comment about other ways you see that this “Current Event” can be used in education.

Educational PowerPoint Resources Galore!!!

Friday, January 9th, 2009

This week I was reminded of how powerful PowerPoint can be in the classroom if used correctly. So, I went back to one of my former blog posts to pull a resource for a teacher. Well, the link to my resource was dead. I spent a little time this morning reacquainting myself with some PowerPoint resources and found plenty to share. I love not having to re-invent the wheel. Below you will find links to a plethora of PowerPoint resources, templates, premade presentations and even tutorials. I hope you find the resources helpful.
http://jc-schools.net/PPTs-la.html This one is LA but you can click on other subjects to get resources for them. Lots of great stuff here!
http://facstaff.uww.edu/jonesd/games/
http://people.uncw.edu/ertzbergerj/ppt_games.html
http://teach.fcps.net/trt10/PowerPoint.htm
http://teach.fcps.net/trt14/Power%20Point%20Games/power_point_games.htm
http://elainefitzgerald.com/gametemplates.htm
http://www.pppst.com/templates.html
http://www.nebo.edu/misc/learning_resources/ppt/
http://www.pppst.com/index.html
http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/kara%20leonard/Resource%20Folder/Integretating%20Technology.htm
http://www.vickiblackwell.com/ppttemplates.html
http://it.coe.uga.edu/wwild/pptgames/
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/powerpoint.htm
http://clear.msu.edu/dennie/matic/
http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/powerpoint.htm
http://www.wiu.edu/users/mfjro1/wiu/tea/game-files/gamesfront.htm

Enjoy!

Pre-made Presentations and Templates

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I’m always on the prowl to find something new. This week I found a collection of pre-made presentations and templates. The presentations, templates and activities range from ABC to Zoo. If you can think of it, there seems to be one here. Many of the presentations are in Power Point, pdf or online. Most are Power Point. In each topic there are presentations, templates, student activities and many of them have teacher lesson plans to go with it. Take a look around at http://www.pppst.com/themes.html#L. I think you’ll find some great stuff to use here.

The good part about using these pre-made Power Points is that if you need to change something, you can. It’s totally adaptable for you and your students.

Some of the topics that I found of interest were ADHD, Telling Time, Texas History, Asthma, Bill of Rights, Cause and effect, Decimals, and even Thunder. There are over 1050 topics to pick from. What are you teaching this week? Maybe there is a Power Point or activity there just for you!

3 Classroom Lessons for Using Gas Prices to Teach Math, Writing, Social Studies, and Technology

Monday, April 28th, 2008

This morning on Yahoo! News another headline reads “Gas.”   Later this morning as the headlines rotated out another one read “Gas.”  Yes, we are facing “Gas” issues like never before.  So, why not turn this into a learning activity for our students.  Our children will face things that we have never faced before, and our job is to prepare them.  So, this Tech Tip will incorporate Math, Writing, Current Events, Maps and Technology.    

The goal here is that we tap into the higher order thinking skills of every student and allow them an opportunity to problem solve a real world event. 

Note: Teachers should not use this to promote any political agenda; you can find yourself in hot water over that.  This is just an exercise for learning.

Note: If you are reading this and are in another city, state or country there are alternative sites that you can use to gather the same data for your location. 

Exercise 1:

This web site http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_history.html  produces a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet with a price history of gas prices by region, state, or even some cities.  From these spreadsheets you can create charts and graphs showing changes, have students calculate differences between time periods and even calculate percentages in change over time. 

You can have your students present his/her findings to the class in a power point, video, printed graphs and a written report. 

            The teacher can discuss issues as they come up.  (No Political Agendas!)

Exercise 2:

Now that students can know the importance of and can physically see from the above presentations that the price of Gas is a real issue, have them do a little problem solving.  Have the students go to http://www.autobytel.com/content/research/top10/index.cfm/action/mileage/vehicleclass/all/listtype/3  to make an automobile selection based on their newly found information.  Encourage your students to select cars that would be suitable or comparable for their current families.  (ie. If their mom drives a van now have the select a type of van.  If they drive a truck have them select a type of truck.) 

Their goal is to select a vehicle that would save them money as well as suit their needs.  Have them research the different car types, gas mileage, and feasibility.  They can sort the cars by all, compact, convertibles, luxury, passenger, pickups, sport utility, sports, vans and wagons.  (I think I want the Honda Civic, does it have enough room for my kids?)

Have the students report back with their selection.  They should make a presentation of their top 3 choices with a conclusion as to why they selected their top choice.  How will this car impact gas prices?  How much money will they save by getting this car?  Does the price of the car off set the price of gas?

If you want to make this an extra challenge  give them a car price budget and a weekly gas budget.  They should have a select number of miles that they have to calculate to get to and from work(school).

ie: Less than $20,000 for a car.  Weekly gas allotment is $40.  They must drive 20miles one way to work.  You’ll need to give them a list of web sites from local dealers to get the prices on the cars.

 

Exercise 3:  The Big Challenge

 Using Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps along with http://www.austingasprices.com/  or http://www.gasbuddy.com/ for those not in the Austin area, to calculate mileage to determine if it would be worth it to drive out of your way to the cheapest gas prices locations. 

Students will need to know:

1.      gas mileage of car (from exercise 2)

2.      price of gas (exercise 3 links)

3.      mileage to lowest priced gas station (Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps)

4.      price of gas at the gas station near your school (you’ll need to provide this)

5.      location (mileage and map) of home and school (work) (Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps)

Have the students report as to whether or not it’s worth the extra drive.  Will they save money or not?

Closing:

As always, these activities can be extended, shortened or changed.  You are only limited by your imagination as to how this can be used in your classroom.  For higher grade levels you can turn them loose with the idea and see what they come up with.  I think we would all be shocked! 

My generation kinda grew up not being very concerned with the environment or economy at all, but today’s generation seems to be more involved with trying to solve issues than we ever where. 

If you use these ideas leave a comment and let me know how it went, or if you have other ideas please share!

 

 

Amazing Space Activities

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

This week I would like to introduce you to Amazing Space at http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/

Amazing Space has lots of amazing tools and resources for teaching about the solar system, space and observation tools.  Here you will find videos, diagrams, images, lesson plans, and student activities that involve exploration, history and new found knowledge.   If nothing else this is a great place for your students to start their research, and I’m sure you’ll find some useful tools and information as well, I know I did. 

I enjoyed getting to see images from the Hubble Telescope like this one of the Whirlpool Galaxy and the Companion Galaxy. 

 

Wow! Along with that image comes a complete lesson plan.  Click here for the complete lesson plan.     

I hope that you enjoy exploring this site of exploration!  Leave a comment giving suggestions of how you used it, plan to use it, or other related sites of interest. 

www.realworldmath.org Launches This Week!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

This morning as I was reading a blog post I ended up linked to www.realworldmath.org.  RWM is a new website that “is designed for educators who wish to extend the concepts of the math curriculum beyond the pages of the text.”  Thomas Petra, creator of realworldmath.org, uses Google Earth to teach Math concepts, and he is sharing his ideas and lessons with us.  He has also opened up the doors to allow fellow teachers to contribute to the site with other Google Earth Math Lessons.  I really thing Thomas is on to something here.  You’ll find under the Lessons page 4 categories of lessons, and on the updates page he has two more categories.  So, be sure to check out the whole site! 

This site is only one day old, but I expect to see lots of great things coming from this!  Get the word out by sharing with your teachers.  We can all use new ideas for teaching Math.

If you don’t find a lesson here that you can use, I’m sure you’ll get ideas for your classroom. 

 

Science

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I know most of you know everything there is about science, but I don’t, therefore I always needed all the science tips I could get. I learned a few things from watching / interacting with a few of these elementary online activities. http://www.teachersdomain.org/tdhome.html offers some great videos / interactive activities / lessons / audio clips / images / documents / etc for use in science. You can chose by grade level, topic, or the media type that you would like to use. The interactive lesson “Earth in Motion: Seasons” was really good.

 

You can sign up to use the site and it’s FREE!!! It is a part of The National Science Digital Library. Basically, it’s big! The NSDL is also a great tool http://nsdl.org/ It’s not as user friendly as the before mentioned site, but is still filled with great resources.