Monday, November 29, 2010

Technology Fun in December

Image from
 Many times some of the most fun that students can have is with colored pencils, crayons, markers, paper and glue. I enjoy reading the monthly Crayola newsletter to see the list of projects and craft ideas.  This month as I read thru the list I started thinking of how many of these projects students and teachers could create with available technology. 

The first one that caught my eye was taking old CDs and turning them into ornaments. Instead of students painting over the CDs, create a double circle template in Word or a double circle template in Publisher. Let students use the drawing tools, adding shapes and colors to each circle on the page, print and glue to both sides of the CD.  Students and teachers can create all kinds of cards and projects with Publisher, uploading pictures and adding their own creative touch.

There is lots of coloring pages, crafts and educational ideas at Crayola. Teachers should check out the resources provided by Crayola:  lesson plans, art tips and techniques, Crayola Dream Makers, success guides, parents & teachers as partners, certificate maker and color science.  Dream Makers is a guide that provides fun and creativity to standards-based learning lessons for Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science. Currently Dream Makers is not available for North Carolina Standards but the free sample guides will show a subject area lesson complete with objectives, background information, resources, assessment and suggestions to extend the lesson.

Crayola continues to build lesson plans for all ages. If you haven’t looked at the lesson plans in a while here’s a list of available lesson plans by grade levels.
  • Grades K-3      695 lessons
  • Grades 4-6       929 lessons
  • Grades 7-12     452 lessons
  • Special Needs students - 355 lessons

To check out all resources for educators please go to:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Inquiry-Based Projects for the Classroom

Inquiry-based projects provide students with authentic science experiences. Here are some suggestions for creating and using inquiry-based projects with your students.
  1. Action-Reaction blog – is it real or fake? Guided inquiry and student-centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills. Students may collaborate, be self-directed, communicate and analyze through inquiry-based projects.
  2. Connecting News with National Science Education Standards blog encourages middle school teachers to use current science events as teaching opportunities.
  3. Quantum Progress blog building metacognition curriculum for physics classes.
  4. Snapshot Science provides ideas and resources for biology, chemistry and physics teachers.
  5. WCYDWT – Science blog provides a collection of rich media that teachers can use as starting points for classroom inquiry.
To see all suggested websites please go to Edutopia:

Friday, November 19, 2010

How to turn current events into Real-World Projects

Teachers have been looking for ways to do more than talk about current events in class by finding ways to apply science and math to real-world situations. But “how do you plan for academically rigorous projects that are ‘ripped from the headlines’?”

Here are some suggestions from the article.
  1. Think about creating a project where your students take the role of the problem solvers, designing a rescue within a certain amount of time. Use the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean mine workers as an example. Have students think about what they would need to know about human biology and conditions to sustain life Include knowledge about geology and what experts they would need to create a plan to rescue the miners.
  2. To bring real life events closer to students teachers are implementing projects where students discuss and see events thru other students who live at the effected site, such as the Gulf oil spill in Louisiana.
    • Not only can student talk and share pictures from the site but students can discuss the “psychological, economic, and ecological dimensions of the crisis.”
    • Does your school use Skype, webcams or pen pals to reach students around the world?
    • Voices on the Gulf provides a blog forum for students to discuss ongoing issues related to the Gulf coast -
    • Project-Based Learning Camp provided by Edutopia provides a toolkit real world projects using various software programs: Delicious, Twitter, Wallwisher -
  3. Look at real-life events where students live, such as water shortages, forest fires, water pollution and how polluted or dwindling resources affect their lives, the eco system and what that means for the future. Have students create multimedia presentations to present to the community or to run on local TV cable.
  4. Students may also want to take part in service projects where they live or to provide help to victims in other countries.
  5. Here’s a list of resources for teachers and students to use when developing service-learning or community service projects.
To read the entire article from Edutopia please go to:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ten Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology

How is technology being used in the classroom for more effective teaching, differentiated instruction and to meet the needs of every student in the school? This article outlines how one elementary school uses technology. Each classroom in the school has an interactive whiteboard, eight computers and access to digital cameras, flip cameras, remote-response clickers and PDAs.

Here are some tips from the teachers on how they use this technology with their students.
  1. Deliver instruction through multiple forms of media
    • Teachers access instructional videos, audio clips, animations, instructional games and other available online resources.
  2. Gather and use immediate feedback on students’ understanding
    • Teachers use remote-response clickers with practice questions to see where to customize subsequent lessons to meet the needs of all students.
  3. Give students options
    • Using digital media students are allowed to show learning through a variety of media tools.
  4. Automate basic-skills practice
    • Teachers use Study Island and EducationCity to identify weaknesses in student skills and then assign lessons according to the students’ needs.
  5. Practice independent work skills
    • Teachers have procedures so students know how to use the technology and what to do if they have a question.
  6. Create a weekly “must-do” and “may do” list
    • Teachers provide a list of personalized “must-do” tasks that all students need to complete and a list of “may-do” tasks that students may choose from so all students always have something to do.
  7. Pretest students’ knowledge before each unit
    • Teachers assess prior knowledge and tailor lessons to each child’s needs.
  8. Be flexible when plans go awry
    • Teachers model good problem-solving behaviors and involve students in devising alternative approaches when technology isn’t available or not working.
  9. Let students drive
    • Teachers let students lead the lesson at the whiteboards giving them the opportunity to capitalize on their skills.
  10. Share the work of creating differentiated lessons
    • Teachers work together to plan units of study with activities to meet the needs of all students.
From this list of ideas think of ways to use technology to provide differentiated instruction, feedback and choices for all of your students? Also, how are you using technology to assist in planning with other teachers?

To read the entire Edutopia article:

Web2.0 Science Tools

Now that we have started the second nine-weeks of school I thought it would be helpful to offer some useful resources in science for middle and high school teachers.  This is just a short overview of the many sites included in this site. To view all the resources please go to:

General Science
  1. Google Earth – use Google Earth to fly to places around the world. Check out the Showcase of tours and videos or the Gallery of images.
  2. Google Earth Lessons
  3. Science NetLinks – resources for K-12 science, standards-based Internet experiences for students. Check out the Lessons, Tools, Resources and Benchmarks.
  1. Get Body Smart – an online textbook about human anatomy and physiology. The site currently covers nine subject areas.
  2. Science & Nature: Interactive games to better understand the human anatomy
Astronomy & Space
  1. Hubblesite – explore astronomy from the Hubble, gallery of images, recent discoveries, and learning resources.

There are also resources for the following areas in science:
  1. Kids’ Space Sites
  2. Biology
  3. Chemistry
  4. Earth Science
  5. Physics