Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Top 10 Free Web Resources for Teachers

Dave's Top 10 Lists
Educator Resources

I've been reading a lot of "top 10" lists lately and decided that I would do a few this week.

The first top 10 list I'm doing is "My Top 10 Free Web Resources for Teachers." These are resources that I use quite often and I truly believe that they help me be a better educator. They are in no specific order of preference. Click on the links for more information about each one and it's use in education.

1. Evernote - Evernote is one of those services and apps that I can't live without any more. I use it for organizing my lesson plans, notes, web clippings, and so much more.

2. Twitter - Twitter is an excellent resource for educators. I use Tweetdeck to access Twitter on my computers and Twee on my Palm Pre+. I get to connect with educators from around the world and share, learn, collaborate, and teach with them. If Twitter is blocked at your school (like at mine), you can use Twitter Gadget in iGoogle or Tweetdeck and still access your Twitter account. Twitter in Education.

3. Blogger - Blogger is a great, free, easy tool that you use to create blogs. I use Blogger for this blog, but I also use it to set up class blogs for each of the classes I teach. These blogs allow me to have a resource for my students that is easy to create and update. I have links and resources on them, and then update them with their assignments, due date reminders, helpful links and resources, and much more. My students all subscribe to their class blog and get an email whenever I post something.

4. Google Sites - Besides the class blogs listed above, I also maintain a website for my students and colleagues. I use the site, which is very easy to create and update in Sites, as a place to put up more static items like the class policies and procedures, class description, and I also post files that they can download. I use it for my students and I also post resources for educators on it.

How I use Sites and Blogs with my Classes 

5. Discovery Education - Discovery Education is a great resource for educators. They have a huge amount of resources for educators, many free, in addition to their fee-based offerings. The Discovery Educator Network is community of educators who use Discovery Education resources and is another great resource.

6. Google Chrome browser - Google's Chrome browser is a fast, secure, stable web browser that I love using. It works great with all of Google's services that I use (like Blogger, Calendar etc.) and has some great extensions, like "Clip to Evernote", that make my workday easier.

7. Dropbox - Dropbox is a file sync and storage system that allows you to keep files in sync across multiple computers and backed up on their servers. There is a free account available and ways to increase your free storage. You can even select which directories and files to sync on which computers. I keep a large number of directories on my home computer in sync and backed up. At school, for security and ease of access, I sync   a select set of directories to my school network drive. It has a limited amount of space, so I just sync the files I use the most. Dropbox is a great resource and can help keep your files safe in the event of a computer crash. You can also access your files from any web browser and mobile device.

8. Google Calendar - While I use Evernote (see above) to organize my lesson plans, I use Google Calendar to organize the rest of my life. I have appointments, due dates, meetings, school calendar days, and more all in my Google Calendar. It syncs with my Palm Pre+ through Palm's Synergy system so I have access to it anywhere. I can have it send me reminders via email or text message, can attach documents to events, add notes, and even share events or my calendar with others. It is a great way to stay organized and great for teachers.

9. Aviary - Aviary offers a suite of graphics tools, online, for free. These include screen capture and editing, photo editing, and much more. They even have an educational section to provide a safe and secure environment for students. I use it for taking screen shots and modifying them to use in this blog, as well as with my students.

10. My Personal Learning Network - while not a web resource or app per se, my PLN is a huge source of information, resources, advice, and comeraderie. Every teacher needs a PLN.

Related Articles:
Free Stuff - summary of free things I use to save money at school
Getting Started with Educational Technology
Technology I use on a Daily Basis
iGoolge as Educational Tool 
Get Organized
Palm Pre and webOS

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Science Grades 7-8-9 Resources

Another science website found by my wife: KS3 Science.

KS3 Science has educational activities for Biology, Chemistry and Physics for grades 7, 8, and 9.

The resources are sorted by grade and topic. They are mainly fill-in the blank with drop down multiple choice selections, but can be used for review, reinforcement of content. They can also be given as assignments for students to do on their own. The students can even check their answers and see how they did.

Definitely a site worth checking out if you teach science.

Google Teacher Newsletter 1/25/2011

Here's some great info from Google for Teachers (and for students)

Hello educators and happy new year!
Did you know that 2011 is the international year of chemistry ( Google's getting ready to celebrate andpromote educational achievements in science - and all of STEM -  withseveral events and programs planned throughout the year. This month wekicked off the first online science fair and opened applications forthe CS4HS program. We're excited and ready to be inspired by a newgeneration of scientists!
If you're attending the the ASCD Annual conference in San Franciscothis March - stop by our booth #1223 to say hi and learn some tips andtricks for using Google Apps and other Google products in yourclassrooms.
We look forward to sharing more in the months to come.
In this newsletter:- Google Science Fair- Google Teacher Academy in Sydney- CS4HS Applications- Upcoming Google Apps for Education Professional Development webinars
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Introducing the world’s first online global science competition, theGoogle Science Fair! Google has partnered with CERN, The LEGO Group,National Geographic and Scientific American to create a new kind ofonline science competition that is more global, open and inclusivethan ever before. Students aged 13 - 18 from around the world areinvited to enter and compete for awesome once-a-lifetime experiences,scholarships and real-life work opportunities. Sign up today
We hope you are as excited about this upcoming competition as we areare!
For tips on how to get started helping your students prepare for theScience Fair, register for this webinar on February 8, 4:30PM PT/7:30PM ET: Embrace your inner Einstein: Using Google Apps for theGoogle Science Fair Online -

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------UPDATE ON GOOGLE TEACHER ACADEMY IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The first Google Teacher Academy of 2011 will be held at the Googleoffice in Sydney, Australia. The date for the GTA has changed and willnow be held on April 20th (with an optional half day unconference onApril 21st).
There's still time to apply! We are accepting applications from  allover the world, so polish up your writing and video skills and applyby 11:59 PM PST (UTC/GMT -8) on 27 January 2011.  For moreinformation, please visit our  site:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CS4HS APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Applications for Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) 2011workshop grants are open now until February 18, 2010! CS4HS is aworkshop for high school and middle school computer science teachersthat introduces new and exciting concepts in computing and how toteach them.  Any University, Community College, or Technical School inthe US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Asia are welcome to apply.
To submit an application and for more information about the CS4HSprogram please visit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WEBINAR SERIES-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Learn how to use Google Apps in the classroom with a new bi-weeklywebinar series lead by Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers.Webinars will be held weekly on Tuesdays, 4:30PM PT/7:30PM ET and willalso be recorded and archived.
Future webinar topics for this series include:- Jan 25: Introduction to Forms in Google Docs - Feb 1: Advanced forms in Google Docs - Feb 8: Embrace your inner Einstein: Using Google Apps for the GoogleScience Fair Online - Feb 15: Managing Google Docs with your classroom - Feb 22: Building a class site with Google Sites -
For more resources, check out the Google Apps for Education OnlineTraining center at View recorded webinarsin the Google Apps for Education Resource Center:
To have someone come and deliver customized professional developmentat your school, contact a localGoogle Apps for Education CertifiedTrainer:

Biology Junction - lots of great Bio resources

Here's another great science resource found by my wife. Biology Junction is a site created by a Biology teacher that has a HUGE amount of resources on Biology. The site has stuff related to the creator's classes, but also has a plethora of resources for all teachers and students.

This is one of those sites you have to explore yourself because you just keep finding more and more things.

The site has resource broken down by Biology subtopic, class, and type. There are class openers, games, lesson plans, labs and activities, information, links and so much more. There are study help guides, science fair help, teacher help, presentations, templates, test prep, notebook help, teacher resources, and the list keeps on going.

If you are a Biology Teacher or Student, you need to check out this site.

Science Monster - science education with some fun

Science Monster is a cool new site I learned about from @shannonmmiller today. (Twitter and my PLN are a great thing!).

Science Monster has information, resources, and even some cool games for science topics such as Solar System, Earth Science, Plants, Physics, Technology and more. Animals, Chemistry, Human Life, and Genetics are all coming soon.

What I like about Science Monster is that the material is easy to understand. I also like that the launch page is pictures instead of just menu text links. There is even a section entitled "I Just Discovered" with news and current events in science. There are animations and games to help the students learn.

In the Physics section, it currently only has information on Gravity and Inertia. More topics are coming. But, the topic is explained well and the game is fun to play and does reinforce what the student just learned.

This is a great resource for science teachers and students. Keep checking back as they add more sections to it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Microsoft Mathematics - math help and graphing calc

Microsoft Mathematics 4.0 is a free download from Microsoft. Mathematics 4.0 is a set of math tools for students to use. It helps students learn how to solve equations step by step along with learning the fundemental concepts in pre-algebra, algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry and calculus.

It includes a graphing calculator that works just like a handheld calculator. There are also tools for evaluating triangles, converting units, and solving systems of equations.

The layout is similar to the popular handheld graphing calculators. It is easy to use and navigate, and free.

This is a great resource for math and science teachers and students.

Blackboard Mobile App comes to webOS

Blackboard has released a mobile app on HP Palm's webOSBlackboard Mobile Learn works with Blackboard’s Web-based teaching and learning software. Given all the important and secure information in your school’s Blackboard system, Blackboard Mobile Learn must be enabled by your school before the app will work on your device. 

This is great news for users of Palm's Pre and Pixi smartphones running webOS who go to school where Blackboard is used. 

Other HP/Palm webOS apps for education.

(Info from

Two more great science resource sites

My wife has come through again, finding two more great science resource sites.

The first is Science Index which contains links and resources for all different areas and levels of science. Topics include space, natural hazards, weather, health and nutrition, human body, environment, physics, chemistry, biology and more. The resources are grouped by subject area and include lessons and activities.

The second one is Science at PPPST which has PowerPoints, activities, games, and experiments listed by science topic.

Both sites are great resources for anyone teaching science. - great science resource is a great science resource my wife found for me. She teaches high school Biology and was using it with her class. Even though it is listed as being for elementary and middle school science educators, there are great resources that can be used with high school and there are some that are categorized as high school.

The site has resources divided by topic area: astronomy, biology, chemistry, forensics, physics, and much more. There are also teacher resources like graphic organizers and lesson plans. The student resource section has study skills and other web resources. There is even a section with parent resources.

Each topic area has a variety of links and resources such as activities, labs, slideshows, graphic organizers, online quizzes, study and review notes, and much more. The resources are categorized nicely and are very good. is a great resource for all science educators and students.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Technology to the Rescue while I'm out for jury duty


I've been selected to serve on a jury here in Connecticut. The case is only supposed to run for about 5 days, so I won't be out of the classroom that long. However, I don't like missing school for any reason. So, I'm very thankful for the technology resources I have in my classroom and the fact that I have been using them with my students all along.

The case is tentatively slated to start this coming Wednesday, so I have two days in school to layout the plans for the sub and get organized. I've been working on the plans this weekend, and realized that things weren't changing much from what I would have been doing with them if I was in the class. The only real difference will be that I won't be physically in the classroom to give real-time feedback and guidance to the students and I won't be doing the short topic lectures that I usually do for each topic.

My AP Physics students are working on the unit on Sound and the Physics class is working on the unit on Universal Gravitation. The AP Physics class will be reading the chapter in the textbook and doing problem sets. Both classes will be using websites and Multimedia Science School (MSS) software to further explore and understand the topic. The websites and MSS software have self paced lessons on the topics, with problem solving practice, virtual interactive labs, videos, and demonstrations of the concepts.

I will be communicating with the students via the class blog, and will be communicating with the sub and my colleagues via email to monitor their progress and address any issues or questions. My department is very good at looking in on classes with subs and assisting with any issues. The class blog will also be used for students to submit their work, ask questions, and receive answers and help from me. Normally, I would use the blog for all of this, but I would also be in the classroom to answer questions and give guidance to the students as they work. Instead, I will have to answer questions and give guidance in a delayed time format via the blog each evening. My students all subscribe to the blog so that they get updates when I post new things or respond to comments. They also contact me via school email for questions and issues so we are able to expand their learning beyond the normal school day.

They'll also be watching some great videos on Discovery Education that relate to the topic.

I also maintain a class web site that has resources, links, handouts, and more on it. I post solutions to work along with the lecture notes that I use.

Technology will keep my students learning and exploring as I am absent from the classroom and not cause the typical wasted days and busy work that many students experience when their teacher is absent from the class.

I am very excited and intellectually curious to experience our justice system 1st hand and am very happy that I can do this and still educate my students because of technology.

AP Physics Class Blog
Physics Class Blog
Class Resource Site
Multimedia Science School Software

What are your experiences with activities for your students when you are absent from school?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Understanding Science - great resource for teachers and students

Understanding Science is a very cool site developed by the University of California Museum of Paleontology in collaboration with other partners, including Berkeley. 

The site describes what science is, what is science evidence, how science works, why science matters, science and society and has a science toolkit. It does a very good job of explaining science and why we need to understand science (and how to understand it).

One of the really great pages is The Real Process of Science which is a much better explanation of how to conduct science inquiry than the Scientific Method. It talks about scientific evidence, exploration and discovery, and testing ideas. This is a much better way to accurately describe how science works than the scientific method.

There is a page for Teachers, which has teaching tips, science tips, and teaching science tips for grades K-16, separated by K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 and 13-16. The tips include implications for instruction, characteristics of students in each grade level, and ways to introduce and explain science. 

There is also a Resource Library, which contains articles and links on teaching science, what is science, and much more. 

This is a great site for all teachers and students, including teachers who are not "science teachers" but must teach science, such as elementary teachers. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting Students and Teachers Organized - tips and resources


I just saw a Tweet asking for tips on helping students to get organized, so I decided to write some tips up. I am a very organized person (type A personality and was an engineer for ten years) and I used to teach organizational skills to other employees at one of my jobs. There are a ton of different organizational methods out there, but it is actually pretty easy to be organized and stay that way using some free tools.

I use a variety of tools to keep myself organized and share them with other teachers and with my students. I have some links below to other articles I've written that are similar in nature, so please read those too.

The first thing that is important is to decide what tools you are more comfortable with: paper or electronic. If a student/teacher doesn't have a smartphone or easy access to a computer, it is harder to use some of the electronic versions. However, one solution is to use the electronic versions at home/office and print out things for mobile. I used to do that before I got my first PDA. I would print a task list and calendar in Word and keep it updated and then print it out when I had to use it away from a computer. I used to also use a Franklin Covey planner before my PDA days.

The trick to being organized is to always use your system and not deviate from it. If you are using a smartphone, then always use that, don't use paper too. Take 5 min each morning, lunch, afternoon, and evening to get organized, check your schedule and task list, and make plans for the next time period. Keep your task list and schedule up to date and check it before making plans. Prioritize your task list based on what is most important or needed done 1st. Use a calendar or prompts or reminders to make sure you get things done on time.

Electronic organizing tools can be helpful because they can remind you of due dates, meetings, etc. through text messages, emails, and on-screen alerts. They can also link notes, web sites, and more together so it's easier to find things.

Here is how I stay organized: 
(I use electronic resources and can access them from anywhere)

1. I have a Palm Pre+ running on Verizon so I can access all of the tools I use at any time. That means I'm always able to take notes, create a task or calendar event, and review all of my stuff any time, anyplace. I can access all of my emails, my Google Calendar, Google Task List, and Evernote from it. I can also access all of my files via Dropbox. (and all of this is accessible from any computer and always in sync through Palm's Synergy system).

2. I use iGoogle to keep everything in one place on my computer. My calendar, Tasks, email, and Evernote notes are all available to me on one page on my computer. This means I can see everything very easily and keep myself up to date. I also have events in Google Calendar set up to send me a text message reminder.
(here's an article I wrote about using iGoogle to stay organized. )

3. I use Evernote to take notes, organize notes, organize info and web clippings, and as a lesson planning tool. I have access to this from any computer and from my Palm Pre+. I organize notes into notebooks and also have tags, making them easier to find when I need them.

4. I even have an app for my phone that will alert me when I am near a place that I have a task for (via GPS).

I tell my students about all of these, and I also share some great tools specifically for students, like Trackclass, Shoshiku, and Dweeber that can help them get organized with their classes, schedule, and notes.

Paper Planning Resources (not free)
Franklin Covey - great paper planning systems, but a little pricey for students.
Day Timer paper planners
DIY Planner - make and print your own planner pages
Planner Pads - paper planners
Day Runner - paper planners
Mead Student Planners
Student Planner USA - some nice ones on here (and not expensive)
SchoolMate Student Planners

You can also create and print out your own calendars and task lists. There are a huge number of sites that have these, and MS Word has templates for it.

There are also some great student planners that you can customize for your school, adding in school calendar and schedules. They also have some great reference pages in the back, including math, English, science, study tips, college planning and more references. Here's one we've used:  Premier Agendas for College Ed. There are a variety out there, and I don't endorse any specific one.

Electronic Planning Resources (free)
iGoogle (and other Google Tools)
Student Planner Software (all free) (lots of good ones here to share with your students)

Organizing Resources
Online Organizing
Get Organized Now - great site with great tips and resources
Julie Morgenstern - professional organizer with some great tips and resources

The big thing to remember is that you have to use your system consistently and you have to take a time to plan out your day. You have to prioritize things and realize that free time and sleep sometimes have to take a back seat to priorities. However, if you plan things well and do things each day, you can avoid the sudden backlog and all-nighters that many students end up experiencing.

Basic Steps for being organized:
1. Plan Ahead (every day)
2. Make a ToDo (or task) list
3. Put things in your calendar (and check your calendar during your planning)
4. Students: write down your assignments and due dates in organizer
5. Students: study/work on homework a little each day to stay ahead
6. Stick to your schedule and commitments
7. Reward yourself with some free time.

Teachers and students can benefit greatly form being organized. You are more efficient, get things done on time, don't forget things, and generally have less stress.

mybrainshark - online video presentations

I just learned about a site, which is a free technology tool that can be used by teachers and their students. myBrainshark lets users add their voice to PowerPoint presentations to create online videos for free. Attachments, interactivity (such as survey and quiz questions), background audio, photos and more can be incorporated, too. On top of that, it’s easy to track who viewed your presentation.

With, users can recap a lecture (using voice to give additional context to slides), provide supplementary information, administer a lesson and quiz, and even create a school project.

Here are some examples of presentations, created for free by users:

·         School Project – “Hatshepsut
·         Instructions to Students – “Book Report Guide to Success”
·         Lecture Notes – Chapter 8:  Personality Theories
·         Proposals – “Gifted Education Presentation
·         Back-to-School Staff Update – Warren County  School CTE Update

There is also a a brief myBrainshark demo – available here

I tried it out and it was pretty easy to use. What I think would be a great use for this is using it in a class when lecturing. Then, when you post the PowerPoint, your voice is also included. Or, teachers could use this to create online lessons for students. 

Wordstash - digital flashcards

Wordstash is a web based study tool that utilizes digital flashcards and a dictionary to allow teachers and students to create flashcards. Teachers can create accounts and share lists they create with their students.

It is very easy to use and is free. You can select a theme for your flashcards, create your own flashcards, find already created flashcards, use quizzes and games, and more. The site is linked to a dictionary site, so definitions are easily found and are given in sentences to provide contextual meaning.

The site is free and easy to use. Try it out and share it with your students.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bloom's Taxonomy and Technology - great resources for teachers

I just saw this on

University of Southern Indiana has created a great page that has an image of the Bloom's Taxonomy triangle with  links to different technology tools that you can use in each area of Bloom's Taxonomy. It's really great as a way to find some new tools to use when creating lessons.

Evernote - get organized - free and on all platforms

Evernote is a great, free resource that allows you to easily capture information using whatever device or operating system you use. It then makes this information accessible and searchable from anywhere. Their tagline: Remember Everything.

You can capture task lists, notes, web pages, white boards, business cards, pictures, and even clip web pages to Evernote.

You can download a desktop version of the software, for free, which will sync to the Evernote web server, or you can just access it through the internet on their web page. You can also access it through a mobile device. They have downloadable applications for HP/Palm webOS,  the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Windows Mobile devices. 

I use the desktop version at home, the webOS app on my Palm Pre+, and the website at school. The desktop version sync's all of the data to your computer (good for backup) and you can also export your notes in a variety of formats for backup.

You can create new notes via desktop, web, or mobile version. You can also use your camera phone or web cam to take a snapshot and Evernote can even recognize the text in the image.

You can upload attachments to your notes in Evernote to keep documents organized with the notes they go with. 

You can also email notes, clip web pages, record audio notes, and scan papers, receipts and more into Evernote. Evernote web clippers are available for Chrome and Firefox and you can even add one onto your own website!

Their website has easy to follow instructions and help sections. The blog section even has a recent entry about teachers using Evernote:

Teachers: Organize your lesson plans in Evernote.
You can put all your notes, outlines, activities, research, etc in Evernote and have it searchable and accessible from anywhere. That way you can start working on a lesson plan at home then continue working on your computer in your class. You can tag lesson plans with specific topics or subjects to make calling them up the next school year even easier.
I use Evernote to collect and organize information, notes, meeting notes, lesson plans, and much more. You can also share your notes with others, so I've shared some notes with my students or colleagues. 

Students can use Evernote to collect data from the web, take notes in class, organize their work, and collaborate on projects. 

Evernote is very useful, easy to use, platform independent, constantly improved and updated and FREE. Get your life organized using Evernote.

MEDtropolis - health information and Virtual Body

MEDtropolis is a very interesting site that I found a few years ago. The site tagline is "A webspace built for the latest health information that will educate and entertain kids and adults alike."

The site has information about different medical topics, such as bariatric surgery, diabetes and more.

But, the really cool part of the site is the Virtual Body. The Virtual Body is literally a virtual tour of the human body. You can explore the Brain, Skeleton, Heart, and Digestive tract. Each part can be explored and manipulated and some sections even have narrated tours.

In some parts, as you move your mouse over certain parts of the system, notes and information will come up on the screen. I think that it would be suitable for grades 7-12.

I found it easy to use and a great resource for students.

SnipSnip.It - Share the Good Parts - video clipping is a web site that allows you to crop videos easily and share them. You enter the YouTube URL for the video and then crop it to show just the part you want. It's easy, no sign up is required, and it is great for teachers who only want a small part of a video to share with their students. Students can also use it to crop videos to use in projects for class.

Braineos | Flashcard games to make your brain happy!

Braineos is a site that students can use to create flashcards and then use them in games to study.

The site is free and very easy to use. Students can also work with their friends and challenge them.

Students can also search for sets of flash cards that have already been created about different topics and use those.

What I like about this is it makes studying a game with competition and the students won't even know they are studying.

Montage-a-Google - fun and easy way to create montages from Google image search

Click to launch project

Montage-a-Google is a cool little project that lets you create montages using Google's image search. It's fun and interesting and also can be used to create posters and pictures. It's fun and easy to use.

The web app does require Flash Player version 9 or higher.

There are examples of other montages and some tips and ideas on the site.

This could be fun to use in any classroom to create montage's of images related to a topic of study in that class. Students could create montages and other students would have to guess what the topic is based on the pictures.

Google Science Fair 2011 is live!

Google Science Fair, a global, online science competition, is live today.

Google, in partnership with CERN, LEGO, Scientific American, and National Geographic is sponsoring this contest. Students aged 13-18 from around the world can enter singly or in groups of up to three students. Prizes include internships and scholarships and finalists will be flown to Google's Headquarters in California for the finale. Students have until April 4th, 2011 to complete their entry.

Students who enter will need to create a Google account first if they don't already have one. Students then complete the sign up form, plan our their project, conduct their experiment and write up their results. They then create either a two minute video or a 20 slide presentation giving an overview of the project and embed it in the project submission.

The Google Science Fair site has information and resources for the students and educators to help them with their projects. There are examples of the entry and project submissions to give students assistance in entering the contest.

There are some great prizes for the winners too, including a trip to the Galapagos Islands, scholarships, and goodies from the sponsors (one goody bag is a Google Chrome OS Notebook and Android phone).

You can follow the Google Science Fair on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz and Blogger also to keep up with news and information.

The Teacher Resource section has downloadable information sheets and posters, a link to request and information packet (mine came yesterday with posters, stickers and information sheets), tips for getting your students started with the project, and a variety of resources for science and science fair projects.

This is a great experience and opportunity for students to showcase their science talent and excitement. Please share this information with your colleagues, students, and parents.

Related Article: 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Google Science Fair is coming - Tomorrow!! - updated

UPDATED 1/10/2011
Google Science Fair will be here tomorrow. I just received my info pack which included posters, stickers and info sheets to handout to students. This is a great opportunity for your students. Go to the site and get more info for your students.

Google Science fair is a resource for Google for educators. There is not much information available yet, but the site states "If you’re an educator and you’d like to receive classroom materials (posters, stickers, bookmarks, etc.) and a registration reminder notification when GSF registration opens, click the button below to send us your contact info.".

Free materials and a science fair from Google sounds good to me though.

Go to the site and sign up to receive more information and materials.

UPDATED - Received more information from Google:

On 11 January, 2011, we are launching the inaugural Google Science Fair. We have partnered with NASA, CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American and the LEGO Group to create a new STEM competition that is more open, accessible and global than ever before. We are reaching out to educators prior to launch to let you know “the Google Science Fair is coming” and to extend an invitation to schools and teachers to get involved early in our global competition.

To sign up for fun and free resource kits for your classroom or school (with bookmarks, stickers, posters and more!) and a reminder notification when GSF registration opens, please visit the Google Science Fair at:

The Google Science Fair is a global competition that any student aged 13 - 18 from around the world is eligible to enter. Students can enter as individuals or as teams of up to three. There is no entry fee and registration and submission will happen online. The deadline for submissions will be the 4 April, 2011. The Science Fair will culminate in a “once in a lifetime” celebratory event at Google headquarters in California in July 2011 where finalists will compete for internships, scholarships and prizes in front of a panel of celebrity scientist judges including Nobel Laureates, tech visionaries and household names.

We want to celebrate and champion great young scientific talent and give students from around the world the opportunity to compete for amazing experiences, prizes, scholarships and internships. We hope you are as excited about this upcoming competition as we are are!

Advanced Placement Courses changes coming (needed)

I teach Advanced Placement Physics B. The course covers everything that would be covered in a college physics-mechanics, physics-electricity/magnetism and atomic physics courses. There are way too many topics to cover adequately in the limited time we have in a high school course.

The College Board, which runs the AP testing and AP programs, has been talking about changing the curriculum for some time and it looks like things are starting to change. AP Physics B is planned to be split into two courses, favoring depth over breadth. This is actually what multiple surveys, including one by the College Board, of college professors support. Less breadth, with more depth of understanding. (I can't find the survey reports, but I'm still looking).

I meet with my AP Physics class every other day for 90 minutes. This is not enough. I try to include as many labs and projects as I can, but it is hard when the AP test is just about problem solving and answering certain types of questions. I have to make sure I get through all of the topics before the start of May when the AP tests are held. I tend to do labs and projects after the test. I would love to have just half of the topics to cover because I could cover them in so much greater detail, have the students do better labs and more projects, and the students would have a greater understanding of the concepts. They could still qualify for skipping "Physics 101" or "102" instead of both. And, I've seen reports that more and more colleges are not allowing students to receive credit and skip classes because of AP test scores, so the test isn't as important.

I do believe that AP classes are a great way to expose students to college level work and curriculum and to help prepare them for college, but I think there have to be changes to the curriculum.

Here is a great summary of some of the issues and changes coming to the AP program from Jonathan Martin:
"Re-thinking AP: Thank Goodness, but will it be enough?"

Scott McLeod also comments on these changes:
"New Advanced Placement programs to focus more on critical thinking, less on regurgitation."

Here is the AP Programs site if you are interested in checking things out:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Win a Wireless Lab for your Classroom

Win a Wireless Lab for your classroom from CDWG and Discovery Education.

This is an easy contest to enter. Simply go to the site and enter your email address every day. The more you do this, the more entries into the contest you get.

There are no hidden tricks or anything else. These are great contests (I won a Discovery sweepstakes last year).

Why not take a minute each day and get a chance to win some great equipment for your class.

3 Grand Prizes - $5000 grant and interactive white board, printer, digital camera, 20 notebook PCs, document camera, storage cart, wireless routers, projector, and more.
5 1st Place - Interactive Whiteboard
10 2nd Place - Netbook
5 3rd Place - Digital Camcorder
3 Special Drawings - Digital Signage for your School

Discovery Education SCICon 2011

Join Us for DEN SCIcon 2010 

Connectictut will host in-person event at t EASTCONN in Willimantic, CT

Please join us for the Discovery Educators Network SCIcon event on Saturday, January 22nd. DEN SCIcon 2010 is an online conference (with a twist) focused on providing participants with some of the most effective strategies for transforming their science classes through the meaningful and effective integration of digital media content. Join thousands of educators from around the world for an amazing day of engaging sessions, networking, and sharing. 

Our Connecticut DEN LC will be hosting this event at EASTCONN’s facility in Willimantic
To find out if your local DEN LC is hosting and in person event, check the DEN Blog and click on your state on the left margin. 

8:30 AM- Registration
SCIcon Agenda (all times ET)
9 AM
Opening Keynote- Reed Timmer, extreme meterologist and team leader for the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers
The Five E’s of Inquiry-Based Instruction
Patti Duncan, DEN Guru
10 AM
The Student Experience: Engaging and Assessing Young Scientists
Mike Bryant
11 AM
Spotlight Session
Real Students, Real Teachers, Real Results: Implementing Discovery Education Science
Cindy Moss, Director of Science and Math, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
12 PM
Top Ten Free Science Resources from Discovery Education
Porter Palmer
1 PM
Hands-On Digital
Brad Fountain and Lance Rougeux
2 PM
Closing Keynote
Into the Storm: Following the Love of Science
Reed Timmer, Extreme Meteorologist

We anticipate various breakout sessions throughout the day in addition to the above schedule.
What is the cost?  FREE FREE FREE
Morning beverages and a box lunch will be provided.
If you would like to join us, please click on the link and register.

If you are unable to join us in person, but would still like to participate in this virtual conference, follow this link to register.

We hope to see you there!!!


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