Teacher Resources Online


We should all be PROUD!!!

The School District of Palm Beach County has been recognized by netTrekker for our commitment to keeping our students safe online and providing educationally sound Internet resources for our students and teachers.  Each year netTrekker recognizes the top 100 Districts based on the usage of their educational search tool, and this year WE RANKED # 7  OVERALL!!

To see where we ranked compared to some of the other districts in Florida and the nation click on the award.

ssa_logo_-_top_100_districts

As a reminder,

netTrekker is available to all students, teachers, and family members of the School District of Palm Beach County, and is available via a link on the Learning Tools website.  This is a direct link from school, and inquire at your school to learn more about access from home!

To learn more about netTrekker… check out the netTrekker Support Page, and KEEP SAFELY SEARCHING!!!

On Tuesday, Septemnber 8th, President Obama spoke directly to students across the country on the importance of taking responsibility for their education, challenging them to set goals and do everything they can to succeed.

The While House makes this video available directly at their website, but in order to conserve network resources a copy has been placed on the School District of Palm Beach County’s internal video server. You can view the entire video below.

In addition to the video of the President’s speech additional resources are available from the White House for inclusion in classroom lesson plans.

He makes a decision... his own choice

John Shoemaker set up a Shelfari book club with all the books from one of my previous blogposts.

I know it took a lot of time to set up (so, a BIG thank you to John) but it won’t take a lot of time for YOU to join and participate in the discussions. If you’re interested, just join Shelfari (free), and join our group. It will be a great activity to do for the summer that can carry well into the school year.

You’ll see that Shelfari allows you to add books to your own shelf, and track whether you’ve read them, are reading them currently or plan to read them. You can rate them, mark them as favorites, comment and recommend for others. You can also add friends and send messages to each other as well as view the most popular books being read and recommendations for you.

I’ve already started my first book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, by Rafe Esquith fwhich will be followed by  The Herb Kohl Reader by Herbert Kohl. For those of you who are interested in joining us on Shelfari, but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, here are two recent segments from PalmBreezeCAFE where I show Kim Cavanaugh how to use Shelfari.


Shelfari Part I



Shelfari Part II

The nice thing about the Shelfari group is that there is a discussion set up for each book on the original list, so you can not only jump in on any discussion on any book, but you can throw in your own book and add your own discussions!

Back in August, Kim posted here about word clouds, specifically using Wordle to build them. I found this extremely timely interactive website while reading Larry Ferlazzo’s blog. The New York Times has created an interactive look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses. The most-used words in each address appear in the interactive chart, sized by number of uses. Words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in each inaugural address than average. Included is the full text of each address as well.

After listening to President Obama’s, can your students (or perhaps as a whole class) use Wordle to create their own?

I will be the first to admit that I can use plenty of help when it comes to my ability to remember lists of facts, or organizing my thoughts.  I will bet that many teachers are familiar with ways to become better thinkers and I’d love to here them.  Here’s a link to a really immpressive list of things you might consider useful in improving your own thought processes.


 This interactive list of ideas and information surrounding ways to improve your cognitive skills comes courtesy of Jessica Merritt and can be found at http://www.find-schools-online.com/blog/  This list has something for everyone. 

Please feel free to comment on your favorite or on any that you think are not worth the time.

If you are looking for an EASY and very cool way to promote community amongst your interest groups, I have found TabUp to be an outstanding resource. If your school district or community group does not provide you with your own web presence FREE TO YOU, and you would like to create a private, semiprivate, or open destination for communication, TabUp can provide just what you are looking for.

With features like a shared calendar, forums for discussion, links to various web resources, and the ability to make this modrated or invite only ALL FOR FREE, I can’t think of a school group, sports team, or common interest group that would not find some use for this service. Please take a look, and add your thoughts to this page. The page is not intended to be a primary source of new information, but rather a living example of another great FREE tool available to educators and community groupsI will be automatically notified of any changes or additions, and will be sure to act on valid suggestions.

Me neither but I felt like I was very close!

Today, I had the pleasure of video conferencing with a 5/6 grade class in Central Butte, Canada. Participating in the activity was (teacher) Barb Mcinnis (& her students), Tim Lauer (Portland, Oregon), Tom Barrett (Nottingham, England) and Dean Shareski (Moose Jaw, Canada). This is direct from Mrs. Mcinnis’ class blog

:

The grade 5/6 students had the chance to meet people from different parts of the world thanks to wireless technology!  On Tuesday, November 4 we participated in a web conference.  We had the opportunity, thank you to Dean Shareski (division technology) to interview educators from Nottingham, England;Portland, OR; Florida; and Moose Jaw via a web cam.  We were able to see and talk to these individuals. We first asked them questions to try and locate them, then we talked about the wireless technology that exists in their classrooms and schools.  Wow!  there are sure some great pieces of technology being used!! This project came about from an article we had read called “Get Set For the Net”. This article helped us understand how past inventions lead us to the wireless age we live in. Most of the students take this age for granted and do not realize the negative and positive effects it can have on our lives. We watched “Smart Guy:Stranger on the Net” to help us become more “Net” smart. Then we decided to do something positive and exciting with our wireless technology.

I’d like to commend Mrs. Mcinnis for her innovative vision as she seeks out relevant technologies to make learning for her students relevant. Wouldn’t you love to be in her class? This is an easy and free activity that took less than 40 minutes and can easily be replicated in YOUR classroom. Where would you find another class to communicate with? Try ePals, for starters.

This is the edited version that Dean created (5 min):

This is the entire conversation (40min):

Thank you, Dean, for asking me to participate. It was truly a pleasure to “meet” Tim, Tom, Mrs. Mcinnis and all of her students.

P.S. I hope my clues (about where I live) still have them stumped!!

The Technical Stuff:
We used Adobe Connect to have our online conversation and I recorded the session. When we were finished, I downloaded the video in .flv format (the default for recorded Adobe Connect sessions) and then uploaded that file to our school district’s Vodcast server (Video On Demand). I was then able to copy the code (anyone know how to read code??? Certainly not me, but I know how to copy and paste!) and pasted it into this blog. Code like that can be pasted into ANY webpage, including Edline! The video is also available on MediaShare along with a description so other teachers can easily access and replicate similar activities in their classes.

Back here, Kim recommended some terrific lessons and resources to help you teach about the upcoming elections. I’d like to add just a few more ideas for you to use.

Did you know if you log in to DE Streaming/MediaShare, and search for keyword: ELECTION, there are over 700 resources (videos, images, quizzes) for your use? In addition, while you’re there, click on the tab at the top labeled MEDIASHARE and then search for keyword: ELECTION. Here there are a few results with election related content created by teachers. There is one created by one of our own, Susan Osborne from Indian Pines Elementary. The beauty of MediaShare is that OUR teachers (anyone, that’s right, YOU TOO) an upload content to share with the rest of us. (If you have any trouble with your login, go to this page for information and a form to complete if you need further assistance.)

In a previous post, I recommended a video from CommonCraft that clearly explains RSS feeds. This one, also by CommonCraft , does a GREAT job of explaining the electoral process.

Enjoy!

If you wold like to add a little personality to your Edline page, possibly lighten up the presentation of some of your content, or try and inject some creativity into your project based learning. I recommend checking out Go!Animate. You’ll find this web based publishing program at www.goanimate.com and it does require an email to create an account, but the service is free and FUN!! Here’s an example of something I put together in about 15 minutes, and I am still learning the interface. Your students will amaze you!!
Get Creative!!

Spelling City

Here’s a great way for elementary teachers or parents to help your students practice for those weekly spelling tests that we all know and love!  Also, you can search for a huge number of provided lists that cover a large range of age appropriateness, and content specific subjects.

As a teacher or parent, you can very easily create a “weekly spelling list” that can be accessed at home with a username and password of your choice. You have the choice of making your list public and searchable, or keep it private so only your students will know how to find it.  No email or identification is required of the student, and when they log in, they will be presented with several very interactive ways to learn their words. They can hear their words, take practice tests or play one of several games.
Jump in and give it a try!  I am using it with my children and they really seem to enjoy it.  I am sure you’ll find the same results with your students.  Let us know how it goes, and if you’ve shared any great new lists!

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