Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Science of NFL Football - free lesson resources

The Science of NFL Football is a free lesson resource from Lessonopoly (a great site in itself). The lessons include video clips and lesson plans that you can use, organized by science topic (trigonometry, physics, health and nutrition, and more). Most of the lessons are rated for grades 5-9, but can be easily adapted for lower or higher grades. The lessons are really good quality.

This is a great way to make your lessons relevant for your students, especially with the SuperBowl coming up this weekend.

Simple, and cheap, Physics Demos - great for any class

In November, the Louisiana Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers participated in a Physics day and a great presentation was on really simple and cheap physics demos.

Wired's Science Blogs posted details and photos about the demonstrations. There are 10 demonstrations and there are videos of them being done that you could show instead of doing the demo (although live demos are more impressive).

Check them out here:

These are cheap, easy, and require no electrical outlet. These are great ways to engage students in a topic by doing the demo before the topic, or do the demo as an explanation of a topic.

Literature-Map - the tourist map of literature - find authors similar to one you like

Literature-Map is a site that gives you a diagram of authors that it thinks you might like based on the author you put in the search bar. The closer to the original author the new one is, the more closely related they are to your search author.

I did a search for Mark Twain, since I just visited the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT this past Saturday, and got the following diagram back.

This site could be used to find authors that are similar to other authors. A good way to use this in class would be to have the students run a search for an author they just read, and then have them determine what makes the related authors more or less related to the original.

CiteThisForMe - citation resource for APA and Harvard referencing

CiteThisForMe is a citation generator for APA and Harvard referencing citations. It's very easy to use. Simply select the type of reference (book, journal, newspaper, website, etc.) and then select type of citation format (APA, Harvard, etc.). Organize your citations on the side of the page, and then download them to Word.

Learning about copyright and citations is very important for students. They need to know that they must give credit to the original authors. This cite helps them correctly give that credit through proper citation formats.

Copyright and citation is one of the Tech Skills that Every Student Should Know.

More Citation Help Resources, including citation generator, how to cite, and what to cite.

Taking the Mystery out of Copyright - how, why and when to cite, and what the copyright rules are.

Learning HTML Code - some resources to get started

I've been teaching myself HTML over the last few months to do more with my blog and class sites than the templates allow. I had taken BASIC in high school and advanced BASCI, PASCAL, and Fortran in College. I also learned G-Code, which is the programming language for CNC machines when I was working for a small company as an engineer. This is making it easier to learn HTML code.

Here are some resources I've found to help learn HTML:

w3schools - html tutorial - easy to use and read

Learn basic HTML Tags

HTML Beginner Tutorial - mini lessons and explanations on HTML code

Useful HTML Codes and Tags

Do you have any good HTML programming resources?


From my Google+ circles - Code Academy -free, interactive way to learn how to code

CoolInfographics - great source for infographics on different topics

Last week I posted about having students create or analyze infographics as a great project in class.

They have to be able to research data, analyze it, organize it and use tech skills to create the infographic. That can be done using the web and a variety of tools to create it.

But, if you are going to have them analyze existing infographics, you need a place to find them. Cool Infographics is that place. It's site that posts infographics on all types of topics, including health, education, technology, and more. The author comments on some of them also, pointing out good and bad points.

This is a great place to go to find infographics to use with your class as a resource, or to have your students analyze the infographic as an assignment.

Thinkbinder - free way to create online study groups with lots of features


Thinkbinder is a free service that lets students create a study group online. They can discuss topics, share links, resources, videos, and more and even chat. There is also a collaborative whiteboard so they can work on problems together and share sketches. It is similar to Dweeber and Scribblar.

This is a also a resource that teachers could use to set up study groups and help groups. 

Share it with your students.


Eagle Cams - follow the adventures of eagles online

North Carolina State University has a great project going that educators can use in their classrooms. Eagle Cam. The camera monitors a Bald Eagle nest in North Carolina and you can view live video stream through USTREAM at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/jordan-lake-eaglecam .

This is a great way to show students what these magnificent creatures are like and use as an intro or grabber before doing a lesson on animals.

My wife, a high school Biology teacher, uses another eagle cam with her students - The Raptor Resource. They follow the development of the eagles from the building of the nest all the way through to the babies taking their first flight. This one also posts significant events videos on YouTube, so you won't miss it.

It's interesting, engaging, live, real, and a great educational resource.

Some great science projects and science literacy projects

Science education lends itself to hands-on labs and projects easily, but there are some nice project ideas that are a little different than what most people are used to seeing / doing in a science classroom. Literacy is one of those areas. In science, student write lab reports, and maybe some research projects. There are some other great projects that incorporate literacy, science knowledge, and even some technology skills.

1. Science Journalism - have your science students pick a topic in your class and look for current events or news on that topic. Then have them write a news article about that topic and what is happening currently in that area. They have to do research, create and edit an article, and use at least a word processor. You can also combine all of the students' work into one "newspaper" and share it online.

2. "How It Works" project - have students pick a device, technology, or product and create a project that describes how it works. They should be relating something they have learned in the science class to the project. They can create a poster (paper, electronic, Glog), a website, presentation, etc. for the project itself. Again, they are doing research, collating the research and creating a product.

3. Invention - have the students apply what they have learned in class to create an invention or new technology of their own. Research, creativity, presentation, and more.

4. Create a science fiction story based on science topics they have learned in class. Literacy, science, and creativity.

These projects have students developing their science knowledge, research, literacy, creativity, technology skills, and more. They can be done individually or in groups.

What are some different science projects you do with your classes?


Project Based Learning resources and tips

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Resources

Science Resources on Ed Tech Guy

Monday, January 30, 2012

Discovery Educator Network - great resources and great addition to any PLN

Discovery Education is an excellent resource for educators. They have great fee-based products (Streaming, Assessment, Science and more) and over 30 free resources available for educators. The Discovery Educator Network is also a great resource for educators where they can connect with other educators and share resources and information. I've been a member of the DEN for many years, am a STAR educator and am also on the Leadership Council for Connecticut. The DEN provides a community for educators where they can socialize, share resources, and learn from each other. There are online resources, videos, blogs, links, downloads, contests and prizes, and so much more. The state Leadership Councils are made up of educators who volunteer to create social events, learning events, and write the blog posts. They work hand-in-hand with Discovery Education employees (like Steve Dembo @teach42) to support educators. 

The resources and post are not all about Discovery Education products, although many are. 

I've learned a lot from being a part of the DEN and have met some great people. Here's some details from research done on the DEN. 

Star Discovery Educator / Leadership Council

Discovery Education had Researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education investigate the Discovery Educator Network to determine how the DEN has affected educator’s professional development and their use of technology in their work. You can read through the highlights here, as well as find a link to the full study. For those of you that are more visual in nature though, we took a few of the key points and turned them into an infographic.
Click on the image below to view the full infographic. And don’t forget, many browsers will attempt to resize it to fit the screen. If your mouse icon is a magnifying glass, click on the image to see it full size.

The Discovery Educator Network is a great addition to any educator's Personal Learning Network.

10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have

Earlier this month, I wrote "10 Important Skills Students Need for the Future." After reading a few articles about specific tech skills, I thought I write what I think are the 10 Important Tech Skills Students Need.

1. Internet Search - students need to know how to do a proper internet search, using search terms and modifiers. This skill is needed for school, work and life in general.
Tips on Better Searches (from Google)
Infographic on Better Searches
Common Craft Video on Web Search Strategies

2. Office Suite Skills - students need to now how to create, edit, and modify documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Businesses still use MS Office for the most part, but iWorks, OpenOffice / LibreOffice, and Google Docs are all getting more popular. They all work similarly so the learning curve when switching isn't that big.
Alternatives to MS Office
Free Alternatives to Paid Software

3. Self learning of tech and where to go for help - knowing how to search a help menu on software or hardware, where to go to find user forums for help, and where to find the manual for technology is a huge skill that many do not know about.

Free Tech Tips and Help
TechEase - technology tips
Online Tech Tips - hardware, software, and more
Tech Support help

4. Typing - yes, typing. I can get much more work done since I know how to type, than people who don't. It's a skill that is necessary for any kind of writing.
Learn to Type

5. Social Media - how to properly use social media for school and work, how to protect yourself on it, the issues of cyberbullying, connecting with others in your profession (PLN).
Twitter, Google+, Facebook comparison
Twitter, Facebook, RSS, Email, Google+ - tips on use
Facebook and Google+ security and privacy
Common Craft Video on Social Media
Create a Personal Learning Network

6. Netiquette - Internet/Email/Social Media etiquette - proper way to use the internet, write professional emails, use social media in relation to your job (not complaining about the boss).
Netiquette - Wikipedia

7. Security and Safety - antivirus, spam, phishing, too much personal information sharing, stalkers, and more are all issues they need to know about.
Internet Safety Resources
Google Family Safety Center
Google Good to Know online safety and internet data
Common Craft Video on Secure Passwords

8. Hardware basics and troubleshooting - knowing what different parts of technology are called, how to make minor fixes, and how to do basic troubleshooting for WiFi, networks, OS won't load, etc.
Free Tech Tips and Help
TechEase - technology tips
Online Tech Tips - hardware, software, and more
Tech Support help

9. Backup data - with all of the data that students create for school and work, it is important to back it up and have access to it at any time.
Backup your Data - tools and resources
Google Takeout - export your Google data

10. Finding apps and software - how to find, evaluate, and use apps for school and business. Also, how to find quality, free alternatives to paid software, apps and services.
Quixey - Search engine for apps
Free Alternatives to Paid Software
Google Apps Resources
Free Apps
On device apps/software vs. web apps
SmartPhone Experts - apps, reviews, tech tips, and more for all smartphones

What do you think are the top tech skills students need to know?


As "MisterS" pointed out in the comments, I'm missing an important one:

11. Copyright and Citing Sources - students need to understand copyright laws and rules, how to cite a resource, and how to integrate someone else's work into their's properly.
Taking the Mystery out of Copyright
Citation Help

Interesting Comment about going Paperless

I'm very digital. I use digital tools like a tablet, smartphone, computers and apps like Evernote and Google to go paperless. I scan or take pictures of papers to keep them organized and backed up. I post things online for students instead of printing them out and I have them do their work digitally and submit it electronically.

I was talking about going paperless as part of another blog post the other day and online and got an interesting comment. An anonymous person commented that "all that technology is good but going paperless will put the people who work at the paper factories out of work."

I wasn't quite sure how to respond or take this. Any ideas or suggestions?

Tools to go Paperless (in school and at home)

EdTech Weekly - free, weekly, edtech email newsletter

EdTech Weekly is a free, weekly, edtech email newsletter that provides a lot of great links and resources for educators.

Simply go to the site and enter your email address to subscribe.

You can view their current issue here: http://newsletter.learningfy.com/archive/2

DEN SCICon - great learning experience and resources

The 3rd Annual DEN SCIcon was held this past Saturday, January 28th. The DEN SCIcon provides participants with effective strategies for transforming science classes through effective integration of digital media content. The conference was broadcast live and online so many people joined in from home. There were also in-person events around the country, hosted by the local DEN Leadership Council (made up of educators). It was all FREE.

I attended at the live Connecticut event, which was hosted at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, CT. We also got to have a short tour of the house that Twain lived in while writing his seminal works. Very interesting house.

The day started with breakfast catered from Panera Bread and then the sessions started. SCICon is broadcast using WebEx and presenters share their links, videos, and presentations through that, as their voice is simulcast. There is also a chat window that the presenters use to interact with the audience around the world, answer questions, and much more. There were about 35 of us at the CT site participating, and Patti Duncan, the final speaker of the day, broadcast from our location.

These are my notes from the different sessions. There are also links to the actual presentations.

UPDATED 1/31/2012
The full video of each presentation can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DiscoveryEducation#g/c/4ACCE64D332A72FF

9 AM
Opening Session
Your Attention Please: 10 Ways to Engage Your Students in Science

Lance Rougeux
Download the presentation.

Engage: use these to hook students on a new topic

Demo, video, Show image - I see, I know, I wonder... Discussion - lead into new topic

E.ggtimer.com - online timer to keep on schedule

Writing prompts - use a picture to get them writing

Photopeach - photo with quiz on common misconceptions
(free account) upload photo, choose and music from site, add captions, quiz questions, - turns it into a video with timing.

Audio files - play audio file with student eyes closed, listen, and describe what you "see" etc.

Crappy Graphs - (or draw a graph) - with no explanation - have students try to figure it out with just a topic, or create a "story" based on the graph.

Real world connections. Everyday applications, Google Earth - ocean obs, weather, geography,

Guess the Wordle - create and post a Wordle and have the students try to guess what it is about/theme based on the words.

10 AM
Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Student Learning through Inquiry-based Instruction

Trinette Green
Download the presentation.

use videos from Head Rush with questions for students
explore topic of there choice
(went on the 1030 tour of Mark Twain house)

11 AM
What’s the GIST? Bridging Literacy and Science

Brad Fountain
Download the presentation.

read short article, answer ?s, summarize, analyze
give them a bunch of sentences that summarize, represent article and select best ones
black out words in science article and have students try to figure out what word belongs
analyze, research,
exit ticket/journal - discuss one way todays lesson can be used in the real world
if, then before lab, predict then test
RAFT - role audience format topic - writing as what role, who is aud, what format (letter, article), what is topic
(science fiction story based on real science topic)
speaking literacy - video or live presentation - summary, explain, do own narration of a video,

12 PM
The Common Core Connection

Kelly Pauling
Download the presentation.

Ate lunch during this session - catered by Panera Bread (yum)
Common core standards
(do projects - presentation, glog, video, site, etc on ___)

1 PM
Busting the Myths of Project Based Learning in the Science Classroom

Mike Bryant
Download the presentation.

Project Based Learning
common craft has a video on it
Edutopia, DEN, http://www.edmodo.com/publisher/biepbl,classroom20.com, DE science resources are great for PBL

2 PM
Closing Session
The Scientific Method… It’s Not Just For Chapter One Anymore

Patti Duncan
Download the presentation.

(Patti was with us in CT when she did this presentation)

My Tweets about this session:

Scientific Method is not a chapter, its a yearlong method for all science - Discovery Ed #scicon goo.gl/hF0V5

Too many "versions" of scientific method and too linear. It's a cycle that starts with ?. Discovery Ed #scicon goo.gl/hF0V5

Scientific method starts with question, has various routes and methods - Discovery Ed #scicon goo.gl/hF0V5

Scientific method, engineering process - both are way to answer questions and solve problems. Discovery Ed #scicon goo.gl/hF0V5

Students know how to investigate and solve problems informally - they go online and figure stuff out. Now use that in school. #scicon

Give students opportunities to practice scientific skills like question, observe, research, compare, analyze, experiment, conclude #scicon

Have students analyze commercials on TV to see fact vs fiction. Good observation practice. #scicon

Do labs, investigations, virtual labs and simulations at start of unit instead of end to get them inquiring and actively learning #scicon

Start unit with a problem and then students get info from unit work and resources during unit to solve problem. #scicon

Failure is ok! It's part of discovery, learning, investigating, problem solving, science and engineering #scicon

Tell students what they are supposed to be learning and then ask if they think they learned it. Everyday. Then have them do it. #scicon

Make sure they really understand before they get to a test. #scicon

Less step-by-step labs, more open ended. Have students then apply conclusions/results to solve original problem. #scicon

It was a great day of learning and sharing. Discovery Education does a lot of live/virtual events like this throughout the year. Many state Leadership Councils host live events like the one I attended, but it's also nice to just be able to participate and learn from your home in your PJs.

I will be posting information for them as they are announced.

Engineering is Elementary - STEM resources for children

Engineering is Elementary is a great site for introducing engineering and technical literacy in children. It has curriculum and lesson plans that integrate engineering and technology concepts and skills in elementary science concepts. The lessons can be used in any STEM class or even in literacy and social studies.

There are storybooks to introduce the students to the engineering problem, which they then have to solve in a hands on project.

This is a great resource to bring STEM topics and Project Based Learning to elementary students.


STEM Resources for Educators

Getting Started with Project Based Learning

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Secondary Benefit of Educational Conferences

I'm currently attending Discovery Education SCICon and was thinking about the secondary benefits of educational conferences. The primary benefit is what you learn from the presenters and other participants. The secondary benefit is how the primary things cause me to come up with extensions of what was being discussed.

The discussions, topics, and resources stimulate my brain into coming up with other ideas beyond what was discussed that I can use in my classroom with my students that I would have never thought of otherwise.

My brain is actually being productive on a Saturday!

Most Popular Posts for the last week on Ed Tech Guy


Good morning from damp, wet Connecticut (lots of rain on Friday!). Today, I'm in Hartford, at the Mark Twain House, attending an in-person event sponsored by the CT Leadership Council of the Discovery Educator Network, participating in Discovery Education's SCICon, which combines live and virtual sessions for professional development.

Here are the most read posts from last week:

1. Soapbox - real time student feedback during class - back channeling, messaging and polling

2. The Teaching Channel - video lessons and resources for educators

3. What I use with Physics classes instead of textbook - online resources, simulations, digital textbooks, and more

4. The Andes Physics Tutor - intelligent homework helper for Physics - use in class or have students use for practice and help.

5. TIE
Studyers - create, organize, and share notes    and   The 3 apps and services I can't live without

6. ActivePresenter - free screencasting software

7. PDFBinder - simple tool to merge PDF documents into one

8. Great Science Fair resource created by a student - animation to get students interested in and participating in science fair and science classes

9. Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook - a nice comparison

10. TIE
Google Calendar for Educators    and   Google announces new Google in Education resources

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Visualy - create, share, and browse infographics

Visual.ly - Infographics & Data Visualizations

Visually is a free service that allows users to create, share, and browse infographics and visualizations. Infographics can be used to share stories, visualize data, and explore and explain things. Visually has a huge collection of some of the best ones available, giving educators and students a great place to find some great resources.

Visually is also creating a tool to easily and quickly create your own infographics. You can sign up for more info  at their site.

A search for "education" returned hundreds of infographics. One I found interesting was "Anatomy of a Doctor", which described the characteristics of doctors, education required, stress, etc.

I think having students analyze and comment on, or even create infographics, is a great project.

Thanks for Teaching Us - nice tribute to teachers

Thanks for Teaching Us is a nice tribute to teachers. The site lets people submit short stories about how a teacher impacted their life. It's a nice read, especially with all of the attacks on teachers happening lately. Reading these stories can make a dark day brighter for a teacher. 

Share it with everyone!

Google Plus now open to Teens, with safety features

Google+, Google's social network, is now open for teens. I've been using it for quite a while and really like it. You can post more that on Twitter, have great conversations, have video conferencing, easily choose who to share posts with , and you don't have all the bloat and apps that Facebook has.

Google has changed the age requirements for Google+ so that any Google Account user can join. That means it is now open to anyone 13 years or older.

Google has set some default settings for teens to increase safety and privacy, including setting it so that only people in the teens circles can send notifications and comment on posts. It also sets it so that if a teen has a hangout going and someone outside their circles joins the hangout, the teen will be removed but given a chance to rejoin. This gives them a chance to make sure the new, unknown person is safe to have in the hangout and wanted.

Google also has a Google+ Teen Safety Guide  and Google+ Safety Center for parents and teens that has safety tips and more information about Google+


Google+ - more reasons it's great for educators

Google+ and Google Pages - great for education

Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook - a nice comparison

Quixey - search engine for apps

There are literally millions of apps out there for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Facebook,web apps, etc. How do you find what you want or need for the platform you are using?

Quixey is the answer. It is a search engine for finding apps. You enter a search for what you want to do, such as "take notes", "record messages", "detect lies", etc. and then it brings you back results.

The results are listed with the app logo, logos for what platforms it's available on, and a short description of the app. You can also click on the platform links on the left to narrow your search by platform. Under each app name is a link with the number of editions. Click on that and it opens up with a list of each platform, cost, link to the app, and user review ranking.

This is a great tool for educators and students to use when looking for apps. Enter what you want to do, and your are off. The sorting by platform makes it very useful, especially if you are looking for apps that work on more than one platform.

Google announces new Google in Education resources

I am a huge user of Google's Resources for Educators and think that they are excellent for education. Read more on Why I Use Google's Products as an Educator.

Google recently announced the creation of “Google in Education: A New and Open World for Learning” which gathers all of Google's resources and lessons learned into one place for educators. It is a booklet, that will be updated continually as a resource for educators. The booklet has data and examples of how Google's resources have helped in education.

Google also revamped their education website, google.com/edu, so that it has everything in one place and they have a Google+ page that has news, tips, updates and more about Google's educational tools and products.

The site has examples of how Google resources are being used by educators and the benefits of using these resources, lesson plans, and a listing of all of Google's tools. It also has professional development and training resources for integrating Google's tools into your classroom and school. The student section has information on Google's many educational programs and scholarship opportunities, along with tips on using Google's tools.

The resources were developed with feedback and information from educators who actually use them in their schools.
These three resources, the booklet, the site and the Google+ page, are all excellent resources for educators that are using, or are looking to use, Google's many tools in their classrooms. 

Jonathan Bird's Blue World - educational program on the oceans

Jonathan Bird's Blue World is an Emmy award winning educational program that explores the wonders of the world's oceans.

The program airs on public television, but the website also has webisodes on the site for you to view. They also have an educators' section with study guides for each episode, sea stories and web links. You can even book him to come to your school and do a presentation (for a fee). He is very dynamic and you can see an example of one of his presentations.

Some of the episode topics include: Sharks, whales, airplane graveyard in the sea, tropical fish, manta rays, and much more. There is also a section with videos describing the SCUBA gear that they use when filming and exploring the oceans.

There is also a blog, http://jonathanbirdsblueworld.blogspot.com/, where they post information and news.

I found the program to be well done and very interesting and the resources on the site for educators were great. Definitely a great resource for your classroom.

On a side note, I actually went to college with Jonathan at WPI. He was two years ahead of me, but was in a band with a friend of mine. He's a great guy and it's great to see another engineer doing educational work.

some of the episodes:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Using Adobe Digital Schools Collection to have students create infographics

Infographics, short for information graphics, are collections of information and data presented in a graphical format, are nice resources for educators and students to get information. But students could also create them as a project.

Infographics are a great project for students. They have to research, analyze, synthesize, compare and contrast, and summarize, as well as use graphical skills and software skills. Students can work in groups on the projects, allowing them to develop teamwork, collaboration and communication skills.

Adobe Digital Schools Collection is a collection of software that can be used by students to create infographics. It is available for Windows and Mac and contains Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, Premiere Elements 10 and Acrobat X Pro.

Photoshop can be used to modify pictures and graphics and then Acrobat can be used to publish the project as a PDF file. Students could even create interactive, multimedia infographics with Premiere (video editing) and the fact that Acrobat X can include audio and video in the PDF file.

There are a lot of resources for educators to help them use the ADSC in their classrooms. The Adobe Education Exchange is a great resource for educators and has curriculum and lesson plans for using the ADSC in class along with teacher resources and a community of users. There are 23 lesson plans, tech guides, user guides, teacher guides, and completed examples to view. There are over 36,000 members in the community and that number continues to grow.

Have students create an infographic as a project in your class.


A Great Collection of Cool Infographics on Pinterest - from Free Technology for Teachers

Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook - a nice comparison

There are a variety of social networks out there that we can use as teachers to expand our learning through a PLN, connect with students and parents, and communicate with colleagues. The three major ones are Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook. They all have different features, functions, and uses.

I use Twitter and Google Plus for real time updates from websites and news and to connect with educators across the globe in my Personal Learning Network to share resources and communicate. I use Facebook to connect with friends and family and keep in touch with former students. You can read more about how and why I use these different services here.

Info.it has a great infographic comparing some of the major features of each of these, from relationships, to sharing, to content.

Which do you use and how / why?


Google+ - more reasons it's great for educators

Google+ and Google+ Pages - great for educators and schools

Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Email, Google+ - why/when I use each one

Infographic comparing Facebook and Google+ security

Soapbox - real time student feedback during class

Soapbox is a beta web service that allows presenters and educators to have students/audience provide input during the class/presentation.

You can take polls, add and vote for questions to be answered, notify teacher that they are confused and even have student conversations and backchannels. It makes a class more interactive and allows students to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.

Teacher Planet - lots of great lesson resources for teachers

Teacher Planet: resources for teachers

Teacher Planet is a site that has a huge collection of links, resources, lesson plans, templates, rubrics, worksheets and more. The resources are sorted by subject and type and there are some really good resources available. Many of the resources are links to external sites.

This is a great resource to go to to find lesson ideas.

Catch - easily capture notes, information and more


Catch is a service, similar to Evernote, that allows you to capture notes, photos, voice memos, and more and then access it anywhere. You can use the iPhone, iPad or Android app or access it through the web. Data is synced on your device so you can access it even when offline. They have browser extensions for clipping web content also (Chrome, IE, Firefox).

The free account is pretty powerful and offers the mobile notebook and journal, text, web clippings, photos and voice memos, 3 streams and 70MB per month of content uploaded. You can even Geotag your notes.

You can also upgrade to paid accounts to add brainstorming and conversations, along with increased streams and data upload amounts.

A stream is a way to group different data (notes, photos, etc) into a topic to keep them organized.

You can share your content with others, or keep it private. They also have Catch-U, a help site that can help get you started using Catch.

You can create a free account or login using Google or Facebook.

Catch seems like another great way to collect and organize data and notes.



Getting your plans and room organized for a substitute teacher

Educators are sometimes absent from their classroom. Professional Development, personal days, sick days, emergencies can all cause a teacher to be absent. We need to make sure that our room and lessons are organized so that a substitute can easily run the class and find things.

Labeling things in your room is a good idea so that another teacher or the substitute can find things. While you may think your students know where everything is, they don't always. I have signs and labels all over the place to help the students, and anyone else, find things. I have a sign near the door with labeled pictures showing where things are in my room, including sub plans, objectives, reference books, and more.

Have your substitute plans available in your room. We have our plans in folders in the office, but I have a copy of my emergency plans laminated on my front lab bench so that they are easily found. I also have signs pointing to where the emergency student work can be found in the room. It also has the class rules, my schedule, emergency instructions, and other information on it. I printed it in color to highlight certain things, and even have a picture showing exactly where in the room the actual assignments/work is. Many of the science teachers email each other when we are absent so that we can check on the class and assist the sub.

There are posters in the room with the class web site, blog sites, and my email address posted so that students, and the sub, can find these resources when needed. The 7 student computers in my room also allow me to assign more than just worksheets when I am absent.

When I know I am going to be absent, I leave instructions printed with the assignments on my front desk, and written on the white board. I let the teacher next door know that I am going to be out. We all check up on each other's classes and assist the subs.

Technology can also help. When I was out with a back injury one year, knee surgery one year (the perils of being a Paramedic) and on jury duty, I was able to communicate with my students, my colleagues and even have the students do work that I assigned from home or the courthouse.

What do you do to organize your room for when you are absent?

See the related articles below for more information.


Backup plans - some tips for teachers

How Technology Has Helped during Injuries and absences

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

Google Takeout - take your Google account data with you

I'm a huge user of Google products for personal and work uses. I'm also someone who likes to have my own backup of data. There are also people who want to take their data with them if they are leaving Google for other services.

Google Takeout lets you download your data from a variety of Google's services to your computer. You can do all of your data or select the services to download data from. Services include +1's, Buzz, Circles, Contacts, Docs, Knol, Picasa Web Albums, your Profile, your Google+ Stream, and Google Voice.

You select "all", or individually select services, and then click "Create Archive" and it will download a zip file of your data. The time and size will obviously depend on how much data you have.

Security Note: Since Google Takeout involves your personal information, we'll sometimes take extra care to protect you by asking you to verify your password even though you're already signed in. 
You can also export your Docs in Docs, by selecting the documents you want, click "more", then "download", "all items" and the formats you want them downloaded. You can also use GDoc backup which will backup all of your Docs to your computer.

Notice that blogs are not included in the list above. To download a copy of your Blogger blog, go to "settings", "other" "export blog" and export it. You also have the ability to export your contacts, bookmarks, and more from each application's setting menu.


Google for Educators Resources

Why I Use Google's Products as an Educator

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Great Science Fair resource created by a student

I just found out about a great resource for students about science fairs. It was created by a student, Kevin Temmer, as part of his community outreach project in high school and is an animated video that teaches students about the science fair. NASA, the National Science Foundation and National Geographic have featured this video.

You can view the animation here: http://www.schooltube.com/video/f0c0a7a0e5cd2646928c/Prepare-for-the-Science-Fair and it is embedded below. It is 15 minutes long.

The NASA profile on his animation can be viewed here: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/science-fair-is-a-winner.html 

Kevin's father shared this information with me because Kevin would like more students to view this to help inspire them to participate in science fairs and pursue science careers. It's also a good example of the kinds of projects that students can do outside of the typical assignments.

Share it with your students and colleagues.

Here is the video:

Free booklets with high school and college success tips for students

Barcharts is a company that prints up those colorful laminated quick study booklets you see at the bookstore and even supermarket. I've purchased a few over the years (Physics, Computer, Accounting) and found them to be very useful. They have quick study booklets on almost any topic from Biology to Physics to History, Economics, Cooking, Computers and much more. Different titles come different sizes, including full size (8 1/2" x 11"), pocket size, poster and more. They average about $6 each.

They also offer some free quick study booklets on some topics that are very useful for educators and students. The ones that I always share with my students are: Keys to High School Success, Keys to College Success, and Surviving the College Ride. They all include very useful tips on studying, time management, how to get help, and much more. They are all available as FREE PDF file downloads.

There are also some fun free ones including Stupid Jokes, Umpire and Referee Signals, and Ramen Noodle Recipes.

Share this with your students.

PDFBinder - simple tool to merge PDF documents into one

PDFBinder is a free tool that allows you to merge multiple PDF documents into one. Simply click "add file" select the PDF documents you want to merge, and then click "Bind". That's it.

This is a great resource for schools and teachers that use PDF documents often. Sometimes you have different files, whether scans of paper documents, PDFs of websites or already created PDFs, that you want as one file.

Other PDF Resources:

Crocodoc - markup PDF files for free

Fill Any PDF form - fill out, sign and send forms

I Love PDF - merge or split PDF files

Lots of PDF resources - print, markup, convert and more

Go Paperless:

ActivePresenter - free screencasting software

ActivePresenter is a screencasting software that allows you to capture and publish what you did on your computer (similar to Camtasia).

The free version has some great features and export formats. It allows you to record your whole desktop, a specific window or a preset size window.

You can edit your recording afterwards using a timeline on the bottom of the screen to see ahead and behind the current view. You can insert things like annotations, voice overs, mouse clicks other videos and screenshots.

You can then export your project in different formats, including images, Video (AVI, WMV, MPEG4 and WebM) or Flash Video (FLV),  PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and a few other formats.

This is a great way for educators to produce tutorials, student help sessions and more.

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