Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September is National Preparedness Month - Here are some great resources!

It's National Preparedness Month, and start of the Hurricaine Season. With all of the crazy weather we have seen, it's good to be prepared.

It is important to consider three scenarios when planning for an emergency: 1) an escape route and meeting point if everyone is in the house; 2) what to do during a school day; and 3) how to handle an emergency during the weekend, when family members might be scattered.

Although many people are familiar with the concept of developing a family plan for emergencies, most fail to take the time to sit down and actually come up with one. One great resource is the FEMA-sponsored website: Check out their kids section too:

Schools need to be prepared themselves, as well as teach their staff and students how to be prepared.

Each household, business, and school should have an emergency plan, emergency kits and people trained in emergency preparedness and response.

I started my training in emergency preparedness while on my trail to Eagle ScoutEmergency Preparedness is a required merit badge and the Boy Scouts emphasize emergency preparedness among the scouts. I am also a paramedic, special operations paramedic and FEMA trained in Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management. Here are some of my favorite resources for learning about Emergency Preparedness. is the US Government's web site for information and resources on emergency preparedness and response. There are resources for making a plan, an emergency kit, and how to stay informed. Information is included for individuals and businesses.

The Boy Scouts of America, who train all their Scouts and Adults in Emergency Preparedness, has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to provide resources for the public on getting prepared. The site has planning resources, how to make an emergency kit, and other resources.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross website also has information for creating an emergency plan and how to prepare for different emergencies. They also sell emergency kits (they are very good and a decent price). You can always make your own using their lists though. There is a full section on preparing schools and students. The Preparedness Fast Facts page is an excellent, one stop resource.

Emergency Management Institute Logo

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Emergency Management Insitute
The FEMA EMI offers free, online courses for anyone to take. The courses are well done and there are plenty of downloadable materials to help you. If you pass the test at the end, you even get a certificate.

Here are a list of the courses that I think all educators should take: (I've taken these, and more)

IS-7   A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance
IS-22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials - A Guide for Citizens
IS-100.Sca Introduction to the Incident Command System for Schools
IS-362 Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools

Education Administrators should also be involved in community emergency planning because schools are on the top of the list as emergency shelters and field hospitals and the building administrators know their buildings.

You can even join your local Community Emergency Response Team. These are teams of citizens that are specially trained to help out in major emergencies, sort of like the reserves. Find out more here. Here is a list of CERT's by State:

Emergency Preparedness is everyone's responsibility. The Japanese know this and that is one reason why the disaster over there is not worse that it is. Share these resources with your students, colleagues, and family.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Some app substitutions for iPad apps to use on a Chromebook

Chromebooks - apps recommendations and substitutions

Many “apps” made for iOS and Android aren’t meant to be used as apps on a Chromebook, anymore than they would be on a Mac or Windows device. You can just use the website. Others have web apps and/or extensions.

  1. Google Maps web app
  2. Kindle - use website or Kindle Cloud Reader web app
  3. Stage - no direct alternative, but there are “whiteboarding apps”
  4. PS Express - Pixlr Editor or PicMonkey
  5. Dropbox - Dropbox Web App
  6. Educreations - (Lensoo) - go to Educreations website and login,
  7. Chatterpix - use Pixlr or PicMonkey (see #4)
  8. PhotoFun Animal - no direct alternative (doesn’t seem educational either)
  9. Wikipanion - just go to Wikipedia site
  10. QR Reader - use ScanQR
  11. Accelerated Reader (AR) - Renaissance Learning AR, Achieve3000 Mobile
  12. Adobe Reader - Acrobat Reader web app, Google Drive will also open PDF files
  13. Pages - use Google Docs
  14. Numbers - use Google Sheets
  15. Keynote - use Google Slides
  16. iMovie - use WeVideo
  17. iPhoto - use Pixlr or Pickmonkey (#4 above) for editing. Google Photos (part of Google Drive) can also be used to organize your photos and do basic editing.


Remember to add these through the Admin Console as pushed or recommended apps for your users.(Scroll down to Force-Installed Apps and Extensions)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

3D CAD and 3D Printing with Chromebooks

Everyone who reads this blog knows I'm a huge fan of Chromebooks, especially for education. One area that I get asked about often is 3D CAD and 3D Printing. So here is some info. I am by no means an expert on 3D printing though.

Tinkercad is a completely web-based, 3D CAD system that works on Chromebooks. I've used it and found it easy to use and pretty powerful (and I've used systems like CATIA, Pro-Engineer and SolidWorks). You can easily download the STL file to use with the 3D printer. Tinkercad also has some great resources to help you learn how to use it.

I haven't found a 3D printer that would work directly from a Chromebook, but even Windows laptop schools connect a powerful desktop to their 3D printer to do the rendering and printing and allow the student to use their device for other things while the job runs. Some printers even have built in support for accessing files from media devices like flash drives so you can print direct.

So, students can do their designs on the Chromebooks, and then the files can be accessed on the desktop PC and printed on the 3D printer.

Two more things Chromebooks can do!


What can you do on a Chromebook? Pretty much everything.

CK-12 Integrates Its Awesome Educational Resources With Google Classroom

CK-12, a great resource for free e-textbook and curricular resources, has just announced that it is integrating with Google Classroom. Google recently updated Classroom to allow third parties to integrate and share with Classroom and CK-12 has just done that.

The Google Classroom share button is now in CK-12 so teachers and students can access all of the content in CK-12 from within Google Classroom. A teacher can easily share any textbook, video, activity or assignment they find in CK-12 right into Classroom for their students to access.

Check out this video that shows how it works:



Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Free Tools for Back to School for Teachers

Astute Hoot, a site, run by educators, that has reading and math strategy animals and accompanying books, hands-on tools, lessons, and graphic organizers, has a free download that has 10 template and sample files for teachers to help them get the new school year started a little easier.

The FREE Top 10 Tools for Back to School includes the following sample files:

1. Beginning of the Year Checklist
2. Golden Keys to Success Responsibility Chart
3. Golden Keys to Success Parent Brochure
4. Routines, Procedures & Transitions: Walking in line
5. Icebreaker Activity: Top 10 About Me
6. Common Core Reading Strategies Poster
7. Behavior Reflection Think Sheet
8. First Day of School Lesson Plan
9. Social Story--Following Directions
10. Parent Welcome Letter sample

Take a look.


Welcome Back! Some great resources to get your school year started



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