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Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: Keith Ferrell

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 21

Attribution: "Antikythera Mechanism" http://www.flickr.com/photos/9506589@N05/2556676025Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Conjugation.com

Conjugation.com is an easy to use website that works by just typing the verb that you want to conjugate in any form. Any verb, regular or irregular. You then Click on “Conjugate,” and a new page is instantaneously displayed, with the verb shown in all of its forms, voices and tenses.

2. Signapp Now

SignApp Now is the easiest way I’ve seen to create a sign-up sheet for keeping track of who’s coming to what. You don’t need to register, people signing up don’t need to register. You just create a sign-up page, email the url, and wait for people to sign up.

3. Virtual Manipulatives

Very useful site from MacGraw Hill, Virtual Manipulatives has a nice set of interactive manipulatives that would work great with an IWB. The manipulative sets are broken into grade levels (pre-K through grade eight) and have some fantastic tools for teachers and students.

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50 Summer Sites for Kids and Teachers

Here’s a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of preference. I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging during my travels and will not be posting regularly, but please continue to check back or drop me a line.

Happy summer!

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaicallows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as withWordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. WithPrinting Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

4. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

5. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizersformscalendars,certificatesworksheets, and more!

6. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

7. Learn Your Tables

Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables. Learn Your Tablesis ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard, and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.

8. Virtual Sistine Chapel

Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at theVatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.

9. Google Earth Now in Google Maps

Finally, the long awaited addition of Google Earth features within Google Maps!

10. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites.  Thanks to Richard Bryne for this find. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

11. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

12. Kwout

Kwout is a great tool that allows you to take web clippings off of any website and it will keep the links hot.

13. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding.

14. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, theAnimal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

15. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you do do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simple go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

16. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up. Thanks to @Ariellah for the find.

17. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

18. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section.

19. SweetSearch

SweetSearch is a safe searching site for students. Most search engines search billions of Web sites and return tens of millions of results; some are from reliable Web sites, some are not.  SweetSearchsearches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants.

20. Cells Alive

CELLS Alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. The site has been available continuously and updated annually since May of 1994 by Jim Sullivanand now hosts over 4 million visitors a year.

21. Catch the Science Bug

The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.

22. SafeShare

Safeshare is a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.

23. ABCya!

ABCya! is a word cloud generator very similar to Wordle that creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya! has over Wordle is that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.

24. Ribbon Hero

Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

25. Invention at Play

Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. TheInvention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.

26. Virtual Piano

As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

27. Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a wonderful new site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too.

28. Google Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

29. Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.

30. Merriam-Webster Word Games

Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.

31. Questionaut

Questionaut is a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.

32. Games for Change

I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.

33. Who Pooped?

You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students.Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs.

34. Number Gossip

Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts:  38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers

35. Illuminations: Dynamic Paper

Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5′s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.

36. Museum of Animal Perspectives

Museum of Animal Perspectives is a cool mashup of YouTube and Google Maps that has videos of animals in their natural environments along with where, specifically in the world the video was taken. Great for science and geography learning.

37. Vocab Ahead

Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words.  You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.

38. Geognos

Great site to learn about all the world’s countries. Geognos is a World atlas with key facts and statistics on all countries, states and nations with photos, maps, flags, visual information about geography, history, people, demographics, government, economy, communications and transportation.

39. MathRun

Fun site for practice basic math facts.  Mathrun is a simple idea (math problems float up the screen and you have to tell whether they are correct or incorrect) and I love simplicity. There is no registration required and no advertisements – I love this too. Mathrun rates your brain speed (I got mine up to 140 mph before having to get back to work) and keeps a running total of how many problems you solved correctly. Great site to use independent practice.

40. Academic Skill Builders

Academic Skill Builders is a research-based and standards-aligned free educational math games and language arts games website that will engage, motivate, and help students improve their academic skills. There are many interactive games to choose from and they’re all pretty fun, have decent graphics/sound effects, and offer great practice to specific skills.

41. 100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube

Stellar resource for science teachers that has, as the title suggests, links to 100 cool science experiments. If your district has YouTube blocked, you can download any of the videos using 3outube. There are some really cool videos here and it’s well worth a gander.

42. MathTV

Math TVis an amazing collection of how-to videos in a variety of math subjects. Checking it out, I watched a video on how to multiply fractions and I (a teacher) learned a new method.  Imagine what your students can learn. This site is free, but it does require you to register to be able to view the videos.

43. Audio Owl

Audio Owl makes the world’s public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for teachers using this as a listening station.

44. Flickr Poet

Flickr Poet allows users to enter a poem and then click “show story” and the site pulls photos from Flickr and places them with all the words in the poem. The results are sometimes strange (I typed in the roses are red poem and for the word red, the corresponding photo was Steve Jobs wearing a red scarf), but students enjoy seeing their words come to life. There’s no print, save, or share feature, so you would need to do a screen capture, but the simplicity of the site and the fact that you don’t need to register is something that I love.
Update/Caution: Some of the images that Flickr Poet produces can be less than child-friendly.

45. Search-Cube

One of my 4th grade students was using this site while researching for a biography assignment. Search-Cube is a visual search engine that presents web search results in a unique, three-dimensional cube interface. It shows previews of up to ninety-six websites, videos and images.

46. CoSketch

CoSketch is a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.

47. Interactive Simulations

From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.

48. Active Science

Active Science has 15 different scientific modules, each with interactive games and activities. Great for use with IWB.

49. MindOmo

MindOmo is a mind-mapping tool that allows you to add and organize ideas, thoughts, work, websites, lists, etc. I see this useful on a personal level (as in having a visual storage-house for websites that I frequent) and educationally with students. If you want to see a great example of one, click here.

50. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.  Great site for story creating!

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 18

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for morning opening activity.  In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.

2. Brainflips

BrainFlips provides tools for creating, sharing and studying flashcards. Make flashcards on any subject and share them with your students, parents and co-workers. BrainFlips flashcards can incorporate text, images, audio and video to learn any subject.

3. ZeroFootprint Calculator

The Zerofootprint Calculator is a customizable tool to calculate your footprint in land, water and carbon impacts – what gets measured, gets managed.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 17

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaic allows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as with Wordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 16

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

2. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizers, forms, calendars, certificates, worksheets, and more!

3. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 14

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites.  Thanks to Richard Bryne for this find. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

2. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for this great find.

3. Kwout

Kwout is a great tool that allows you to take web clippings off of any website and it will keep the links hot.

Great find from Mr. Man.

The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

Temple Grandin is an amazing person. Born in 1947, she is a Doctor of Animal Science and a professor at Colorado State University. She is known for her work in the livestock industry, but is perhaps most famous due to her openness about her autism, and advocacy for autistic individuals. Watch the video and be inspired!

Temple Grandin is such a strong reminder that as educators, we need to continue to find what motivates each child, and find a way to light every single one of those individual flames.

Paragons of the Week – Episode 13

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding. Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for this find!

2. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

3. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you do do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simple go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 12

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up. Thanks to @Ariellah for the find.

2. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

3. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section. Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for the find!

Beyond Earth Day

Guest Post by Annika Dahlgren-Ferrell

Earth Day is a day of observance/action celebrated each year on April 22 and has been going on and gaining momentum since its inception in 1970. The United Nations observes Earth Day every year on the March Equinox, which often falls (as it does this year) on March 20th. Earth Day, whenever celebrated is usually a time to reflect on the state of the environment and what steps can we take, as humans, to clean up the mess we have created.

Earth Day, in my mind is flawed. It’s like Valentine’s Day. Why spend one day doing what you should be doing every day? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s to bring awareness and stimulate social change, but I think that we, as educators should be living by example and teaching our students things that they can be doing every day to save the earth.  Kids understand the 3 R’s (reduce, recycle, reuse). They’ve been told to go out and plant a tree,  but we never really teach them important simple things that they, and their parents, can (and should) be doing in their every day lives at home.

What You Can Do to Save the Earth During the Other 364 Days

Re-evaluate what your needs and wants are.  We live in a society where everything is at our finger tips.  It’s easy to accumulate and spend and continue the circle of consumerism which is shockingly harmful on our environment. We need to not try to live in comparison to someone else… to have the newest and latest… to have the biggest… Start living in your means and possibly below your means.  It will allow you to live free and not be tied down by your possessions. With this in mind, here is a simple list of simple things you can do to make every day Earth Day.

Miscellaneous

  • Cut your hair at home (spouses and children)
  • Use good ol’ water for cleaning the floors, counters and surfaces instead of purchasing chemical-filled cleaners.  Tip: add lemon or orange peels and white vinegar to your water
  • Plan your trip with your car so that you can get all your errands done in a certain part of town.
  • Tell people you love hand-me-downs.  Clothes, toys, dishes you can get it all by just asking people for their old stuff.  You help them unload and you get what you want.
  • Reuse vacuum bags, empty them out and reuse them.
  • Use refillable water bottles.
  • Rinse dishes in a large bowl.  With water that is left-over, water the garden and potted plants in the house.
  • Drive a dirty car or wipe it clean.
  • Don’t buy new. If you must buy, buy used.  Search online. Check out your local Salvation Army.
  • Exercise outdoors when you can, instead of using a gym membership.
  • Use things for their entire life instead of continually upgrading.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Cut up old shirts for rags (I use them as Kleenex as well).
  • Trade toys with friends/neighbors for your kids.
  • Buy in bulk when it makes sense to.

Bathroom

  • If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.
  • Use your shower towel for a week (or until it gets musty) hang it in a well ventilated spot so it can dry quickly.
  • Turn off the water when you soap up.
  • Turn off your water heater (if you have the capabilities) and turn it on right before you shower.
  • Buy refills for soaps and shampoo bottles.
  • Clean the toilet bowl with a little bit of hand soap instead of buying harsh cleaning chemicals.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.

Kitchen

  • Use coupons.
  • Bring your own cloth bags when grocery shopping.
  • Keep refrigerator door closed (open it with something in mind… don’t keep it open and ponder what it is you want to eat).
  • Run the dishwasher only when full.
  • Wash Ziploc bags and re-use them.
  • Make enough dinner so you have lunch(es) the following day(s).
  • Turn off all appliances that have lights, numbers, or timers on them.  It drains electricity.  Including the TV.  You can unplug at night and have it on during the day if that works better for you. Alternatively, put all your electronic equipment on surge protectors and just flip the switch on that instead of unplugging them.
  • Use water that is just sitting in your sink (in cups, glasses, pots and pans) to water plants.

Bedroom

  • Wash sheets once a month.
  • Use your clothes more than once before washing them (unless they are stinky and noticeably dirty of course).

Living Room

  • Use fans in summer (and turn them off when you leave the room) instead of using AC.
  • Turn thermostat up.
  • Close curtains to keep the heat out.
  • Sweater up in the winters.  Turn thermostat down and let in the natural sun light to warm things up.
  • Incredibly enough, candles increase the temp. in your home.
  • Turn off your computers and printers when they are not in use.
  • Turn off everything in a room that you aren’t using or when you leave the room.

Student Check-List

Eco-Sites for Kids & Teachers

Eco Kids

Eeko World

Rufus' Home

Recycle City

Earth911

The Daily Green

Kids Saving Energy

The Green Guide for Kids

Earth Matters

Annika Dahlgren-Ferrell is a Health, Nutrition and PE teacher from California who is passionate about the environment. Growing up in two cultures (Sweden and the US) she has seen her share of both environmental negligence and responsibility.

The Internet of Things

Just came across this via ReadWriteWeb and it got me thinking. From IBM’s Smarter Planet team, The Internet of Things is a 5+ minute video about data usage and how it is all becoming interconnected.

After watching the video, what are your thoughts? Do you think this an entirely positive direction we are heading? Will we continue to lose face to face interaction? How will this affect our future generation? Are we preparing them for this? Is society becoming too “big brotheresque?” Do people even care anymore if big brother is watching? Have we all become big brother, watching everyone else? Have we discovered that no one is doing anything truly interesting anyway, so why watch?

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 8

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Google Web Search – Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

2. Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.

3. Merriam-Webster Word Games

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for this find. Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.

Clipart Etc.

With over 58,000 (and growing) pieces of free, quality, educational clip art, Clipart Etc. is a fantastic site for educators looking for images to enhance lessons, worksheets, presentations and use with IWBs. There are fantastic images for math teachers, art, music, science, and much more.

The Fraction Gallery offers over 470 illustrations that can be used for teaching and demonstrating fractions. Fractional representations are modeled in wedges of circles (“pieces of pie”) and parts of polygons. There are also clipart images of numerical fractions, both proper and improper, from halves to twelfths. Fraction charts and fraction strips found in this collection can be used as manipulatives and are ready to print for classroom use.

Thanks to John Kimzey for this great find.

Did You Know 4.0

More great reminders from Scott McLeod, Karl Fisch, and Laura Belstler. Quote of the video by Ray Kurzweil:

“So what used to fit in a building, now fits in your pocket. What fits in your pocket now will fit in a blood cell in 25 years.”

Enjoy the video.

Researching, Graphing and Publishing in Four Steps

One of my third grade classes is working on a unit of learning about, and deciphering the differences between developed and developing countries. They are investigating what makes a country developed, why certain countries develop and other don’t, and trying to figure out how we can close the gap.

Step 1: The Premise

We began by gathering information on 2 counties (one developed; the other developing) such as literacy rate, life expectancy, population, GDP per capita,  and other statistical facts that could be found online. They recorded their findings in a Word document. This information was later used to graph the results and to develop a better understanding of the differences between developed and developing countries.

Step 2: The Research

For most of the research, we used CIA World Fact Book. This is a great site with detailed information on every country in the world. It is fairly easy to find the information, but what I like even more is that the kids did have to do some thinking and searching to find the information they needed. Other sites we used were the BBC’s Development and Health, National Geographic’s People and Places, OxFam’s Wake Up World, and Heifer International’s Read to Feed.

Step 3: The Graphs

After all the information was gathered students went to Create-a-Graph and began entering their data. They selected specific data to compare 2 or more countries (i.e., literacy rates of Singapore vs. Afganastan; Life Expectancy of people in Singapore vs. Cuba; GDP of Singapore vs. The Philippines; etc.). We used Singapore for the developed country as that is where all the students live. The students got to choose which developing country they researched and, not surprisingly, a lot chose either Haiti or Afghanistan. (Note to self: next time, I will have students sign up for a country to avoid repeats).

Step 4: Publishing

After all the data was collected and graphed, the students downloaded their graphs as PDFs and I then uploaded them all to Youblisher to share their findings with people from around the world. You can take a look at their graphs here.

Create-a-Graph Step by Step Guide

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