Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ideas for Writing Projects/Essays

What a great idea from @chrislehmann! His Elluminate speech referenced a Spanish IV project. The students’ wrote an essay about themselves; specifically, what people see on the outside vs. what the student possesses on the inside. The Spanish students learned and created masks to reflect their outsides and insides. They then cut up pieces of their essay and used that to decorate their masks. What a neat project to do at the beginning of the school year. This would be a great way to learn the students and their inner passions/fears/beliefs.

Another essay I used was about the students’ favorite song. This essay would be a great vehicle for teaching persuasive writing. They followed this template and had to convince me if their favorite song would be remembered years from now.

I guess what I am getting at is tweaking the writing projects to reflect more of the student. Sure, you can still practice the various forms of writing but gear them toward the student and his/her interest. I think this would motivate the student to write and write more passionately.

Start the class with Local Trivia

Every morning I receive an update from KWTX in my Google Reader. They are almost always interesting and great for curious minds. Here is an example of this morning's update:

"Good morning, it’s Monday December 20 and it’s shaping up as a pleasant day in Central Texas. It’s the 124th anniversary of the opening of the Texas hotel where nearly a half-century later a future president had his first date with a future first lady. Do you know what it is?"

When you click on the link, it takes you to the rest of the story. I thought this would be neat to write on the board each morning (omitting the weather reference). Then read the class the answer. This would build the students' knowledge of local history and trivia. This would make a great addition to a Texas history classroom. To take it a step further, I might add a few of these on a test as bonus point items.... just a random thought this morning!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Web 2.0 Tools

Thanks to @jholland for the great list of Web 2.0 tools. I really enjoy the image generators and effects!

T’was the Night Before Finals

T’was the Night Before Finals


B.J. Williams

T’was the night before finals, and all through the school,

Students were gaming, because that was the rule.

The grades were all posted on Grade speed with care,

In hopes that exemptions would keep all kids from here.

The students each struggled with an empty head,

While teachers all hoped they’d remember what was said.

When some with a scantron, and I with pen of red,

Had just written keys for bubbles filled with number two led.

When out of the office there rose such a clatter,

I gave up grading to see what was the matter!

To the edge of my room I flew like a flash,

Unlocked the door that’s a security latch,

A student was mooning, bottom as white as the snow,

And gave a retching to all who happened to see the show.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear?

But a smart student who knew how to escape from here!

He coughed and he spewed, for this he knew,

Would help others believe that he had the flu!

Then, more rabid than beagles, my student’s they came,

I greeted them wearily, and mumbled their name,

“Now Justin, now Ali, now Zippy and Bob!

On Trenton, on Kristy, and good old Rob Dawg!

To the front of the class, a seat between all,

Pick up a scantron and take the test for the fall!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

My students were blown away with numbers like pi!

So up to the test they would write what they knew,

Along with a lot that they had guessed on too!

And then in a twinkling, I heard all through the class,

The pencil’s led marking, student’s hoping to pass.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

I noticed a cheater, their review placed neatly on the ground!

They were dressed in defiance, from their head to their foot,

And out of the classroom I gave them my boot!

His bundle of books, he threw on his back,

He looked back at me and said, “You don’t know Jack!”

His eyes – how they twinkled, his smirk no less,

But my smile came knowing he was headed to ISS!

My droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And then I saw the student who really didn’t know!

The stub of his pencil he held firm in his teeth,

And smoke from his ears circled his head like a wreath!

He had a blank face, and a grasp of math as firm as jelly,

He was perspiring too much, which made his odor quite smelly!

In class he was silly, paid less attention than an elf,

And so now I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

A wink of my eye, and a nod of my head,

And the student now knew, his grade was dead!

He spoke not a work, but continued his work,

And wished now in class, he had not been such a jerk!

And laying his pencil beside his test,

He conceded to fail, as he knew not the rest.

He rose from his desk, and in exasperation gave a whistle,

As his grade plummeted, like a tomahawk missile!

But I said to him, as he walked down the hall out of sight,

See you next year! Maybe then you’ll get some right!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do you need a Web 2.0 tool?

Look no further than this site from Jeff Thomas from Houston, TX:
Be sure to also check out the slideshow and video of the day as well as other goodies on the left hand side.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So Funny, and So True

"You're sitting in a chair in the sky!!!!"

Here is the original tweet from @ktenkely:

"Was just reminded about video hilarious & illustrates difference between digital native & immigrant worldview #edchat"

Here is that video....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten Tools for Tuesday

Festisite - A neat site to make some creative items. Use the personalized money generator to put your kids' faces on money. Make a bulletin board and hang their money when they score well on an exam. Introduce Mt. Rushmore or the statue of liberty by putting a photo of your student on it.

Wondersay is a really simple and fun idea. With Wondersay, you can use any simple sentence or twitter account to generate a cool animation! Wondersayings are easy to create, customize and share. No software programs to download (it's all online), no sign-up or passwords (save them by copying the link or embedding them in your website), and all for free. Click the example below to see an example of a Wondersaying I made.

Cool Iris - It's simply the fastest and most stunning way to browse photos and videos from the Web or your desktop. Effortlessly scroll an infinite "3D Wall" of your content without having to click page to page, whether you'e on Facebook, Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Kodak Gallery, or any supported site. Or channel surf the latest news, TV episodes, movies, and music videos all from within Cooliris.

Livebrush - Livebrush is a drawing application. It employs an easy-to-use brush tool that reacts to your gesture. By combining simple motion controls with brush styles, Livebrush offers a fun and unique way to create graphics.

Word it Out - Simply enter some text and create your word cloud. You can keep your word cloud secret or share it. You can even embed it onto your webpage. The settings are also customizable.

Kaleidocycle - Upload your own photos and create a foldable cube. Create your own Rubix cube of review terms, images, etc.

Random - Check out the free random things you can do at this site. Play the coin flipper, dice roller, or card shuffler as a means of classroom collaboration

Where's George? - Do you ever wonder where that paper money in your pocket has been, or where it will go next? This is the place to find out. All you need to do is enter the denomination, series, and serial number of any US dollar bill, and your current USA ZIP or Canadian Post Code in the box below.

On my Birthday - Find out everything (and I mean everything) that happened on a specific day, such as your (or your students') birthday.

Spell with Flickr – Simply type a phrase or word in the box and watch the letters pulled from Flickr. If you do not like a letter, click on it and another pops up. What a neat way to practice spelling or vocabulary words.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Tis the Season (for my favorite Christmas videos)

Today was our department Christmas party. I cannot help but to think of some of my favorite videos/video clips for the holidays....enjoy! (Not appropriate for school viewing.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Top 10 Sites for Teacher Resources

Teachers often ask me for good (free) sites to find everything from lesson plans to interactives, and other premade goodies. I have compiled a list of ten sites that are my “go to” sites for time savers, resources, and new materials. The following are in no particular order:

1. Thinkfinity – What I LOVE about Thinkfinity (in addition to the numerous contributors and content types available) is the SEARCH option. You can modify your search to include interactives that students can complete in a computer lab setting by simply placing a check mark next to this option.

2. Awesome Library – A great site for lesson plans and content related sites. Click on the appropriate topic and explore project ideas and multimedia resources.

3. Classtools - allows you to create free educational games, activities and diagrams in a Flash! Host them on your own blog, website or intranet! No signup, no passwords, no charge!

4. SAIL On – A great resource provided by 9 public school districts in the Houston area. Simply hover over your level, then click on the desired grade and content area. Provided are web sites, interactives, and lessons matching specific TEKS.

5. 4Teachers - ALTEC, the umbrella organization for the 4teacher tools, manages the Technology Rich Classroom (TRC),Title II-D initiative in Kansas. Take a look at the powerful 21st Century learning taking place in these classrooms!

6. Teacher’s Domain – I really like that the media is provided for you. Many of the video clips mentioned in the lesson are viewable from this site.

7. Teachers First – To browse, hover over “Classroom”, “Resources”, and click “By Subject/Grade”. I really like the “weekly brain twisters”.

8. Super Teacher Tools – This site contains templates for classroom review games, management tools, and tools for fun.

9. Pete’s PowerPoint Station – Do you need a PowerPoint? Look no further than Pete’s. Be sure to also check out Greta’s games for interactives.

10. ETRIP – Created by my school district, ETRIP is filled with links, lessons, and resources for using technology in your classroom.

Please share some of your “go to” sites here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12 Days of Whataburger

Even before I became pregnant, I have been a HUGE fan of Whataburger. I mean, who can resist those tasty fries, burgers, and chicken tenders? I find myself pulling in to a Whataburger at least once a week now for breakfast.

This morning was no different than other mornings. I was running late and had forgotten an important paper at home. I wrestled with fussy children this morning who didn't want to get dressed, didn't want to go to daycare, and didn't care that mommy was running late for work. As I realized my paper left behind, I called my husband and asked him to scan it for me. I pulled up to the Whataburger drive-thru and ordered my breakfast.

When I pull up to pay, the lady behind the window says "Someone has already paid for your breakfast." I quickly look around to see if I know anyone. She says, "A stranger paid for your breakfast." I immediately burst into tears. That person will have no idea what this meant for me. I was having a horrible morning and really couldn't afford my breakfast. This stranger made my day, and his/her $4 gives me hope.

I don't want to get too emotional but, do something nice for someone else. Even something as small as $4 breakfast can make someone's day. And if you love Whataburger, sign up for the 12 Days of Whataburger, and buy someone else a tasty breakfast.