Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another look at Twitter

Twitter had it's 5th Birthday not to log ago.  I just got a chance to watch the Youtube video that Twitter posted for that. Take a look at how people all over the world use Twitter.  Some use it for fun and other use it to expand their understanding of the world.

Blogger Dynamic Views for Readers

If you are using Blogger there are some new views that you can use. This way you can get the blog you want for you and your followers!

All about Dynamic Views for Readers - Blogger Help

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Twitter Search

So have you started your PLN yet?  Have you started a Twitter Account to connect with other teachers?  Do you have any hashtags (#) that you are following?

Here is another Common Craft video to help you use Twitter better. Watch Twitter Search In Plane English I will also be posting a list of some hashtags that you my want to follow.  I like #edchat and #edtech.  There are lost more out there!  Be on the look out for a blog post about TweetDeck too.

Common Craft Logo -

CoMo Teacher

The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence for this year was awarded to Kathy Steinhoff.  Kathy is a math teacher at Jefferson Junior High in Columbia, MO.  The local NPR station, KBIA, news program EXAM did a story on her. The link below will take you to the audio file and a photo.  Kathy is using her SMART Board and clickers in the story.

Exam: March 28, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Internet Safety and Cyberbullying

I started covering internet safety and cyberbullying today with my 3rd and 5th grade students. I forgot how many good recources are out there for classroom and home use.  Check out the links below.  If you have any more sights that you like add them in the comments section.
Doctors Should Ask Kids: Are You On Facebook?
NetSmartz - This has lots of videos!

Stop Bulling

Stop Bulling Now - This sight is more on bulling in schools but still a good tool!

My Online Neighborhood

The Pules: Cyberbullying - This is a pod cast from The Missouri State Teachers Association

Students Digital Footprint

On Twitter last night there was a good point made.  Think about what YOU let go into your students Digital Footprint. You do not want something they did in 8th grade to keep them from getting into college or even getting a job.  It got me about you?

Project Based Learning


I am a big fan of Project Based Learning (PBL), or Inquiry-based learning. Edutopia has a free ebook called Top Ten Tips For Assessing Project Based Learning.  It is 14 pages and has tips on assembling your PBL Tool Kit.  If you like PBL or you are just thinking about starting PBL in your   classroom check it out!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


When I first started this blog about a month ago I was not to sure about it. Truth is I love it now! I have been able to save time and get more information out to the people that I support.  There are lost of applications out there for free blog providers but I have been very happy with Google Blogger.  If you have a webpage  for your classroom think about adding a blog as a way to get information to the families of your students too.  It is much simpler to send out an extra quick reminder on your blog then on the web page. If you add a subscription provider, like Feed Burner, you followers can have your blog delivered to their email. Blogs are also nice for parents like me that tend to loose the notes home.  If the information was posted on the blog I could check the blog history and still have the information. Check out this quick, and very well made, video from Google about Blogger. Also check out the What's New With Blogger post from Blogger Buzz


Google Chrome                      Internet Explorer 8

What browser do you use?  Most schools use Internet Explorer but is it the best?  At home we are a mixed browser family.  I love my Google Chrome with my extensions for Diigo and Blogger and my TweetDeck application. My husband runs Fire Fox and thinks that all my Google stuff is silly.  But no mater how much we like our browsers we still have to default back to Internet Explorer when we want to do grades at home!  If you have a webpage or blog remember the importance of checking what it looks like in different browsers.  I found out that the background that I had on this blog did not show up on Internet Explorer so I had to pick a new one.
Check out the NPR story Assessing The Browser Wars, And Why They Matter.   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bud's Tips

With the MAP testing window upon us do not forget about Bud's Tip of the Week for assessmnet tests!

National Financial Capabitiy Challenge

National Financial Capabitiy Challenge is a test for high school students that was developed by the Department of the Treasury.  Below is a copy of the letter that was provided by the Department of the Treasury and several links.  Even if you do not teach high school I would sugest watching the video about the program and checking out the teacher toolkit.  The toolkit has lots of FREE lesson that you could adapt for you own use.

Dear friends and colleagues,
I'm writing to tell you about an important initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education called the National Financial Capability Challenge, which runs from March 7 through April 8, 2011. The Challenge is a free, voluntary, online series of financial questions for high school students to check their knowledge of earning, spending, saving, borrowing, risk protection, and more.
All high school educators are encouraged to sign up for free at to administer the Challenge to their students, and to help spread the word to other high school educators across the nation. As educators, it is critically important to use this opportunity to help prepare our students for financial independence!
  • It's quick. It takes only about 30 minutes to administer the Challenge online, but the lessons your students will learn in preparing will last a lifetime.
  • It's easy. Comprehensive lesson plans and sample questions are available in the online Educator Toolkit to help you prepare your students for the Challenge.
  • It's rewarding. Educators and top-scoring students in each school will earn personalized award certificates and states with the highest participation will also be recognized.
  • Any high school educator can do it. All high school educators, not just math and personal finance educators, from all types of school systems – public, private, parochial, and home schooling – are encouraged to register their students to participate. Youth group leaders who have a role in educating high school students are also welcome to participate. The website also provides tools you can use to easily spread the word about the Challenge, including:
    • Content you can email to other educators,
    • A flier with all the details for you to attach to your email or post in the teachers' lounge,
    • Content you can submit for publication in your district's newsletter,
    • Content you can post on websites, blogs, and other online sites.
Please don’t delay! Register today at Your students’ financial futures depend on you!


Challenge webpage


Introduction video

Digital Footprint

Have you thought about your digital footprint?  What are you leaving behind on the internet?  Is it something that you would want EVERYONE to see?  How are you preparing you students for the digital footprint that they will leave?

This topic has come up several times this week and I can not seem to stop thinking about it.  Teaching or students to use the internet in a save and responsible manner is part of using technology in the classroom. I am not just talking about how to be safe on the web but how to represent your self on the web.  I have talked about this with high school and college but when should we start with the others?  Check out the story in the link below about your digital footprint replacing your resume.....are you ready for this?....are your students ready for this?

 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume In 10 Years

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summer PD with MOREnet

For those of us that are part of MOREnet schools we need to remember that we can take advantage of FREE Technology Professional Development. All of the MOREnet trainers are SMART certified and they are working on their Google certification. 

This summer there is one section of the Google Tools and two sections of SMART Board 1 and 2 trainings. They are also offering SMART Response and Introduction to Podcasting. I have taken the SMART Board and the Podcasting classes and learned a lot. I am excited to be taking the Google Tools and SMART Response classes this summer and I know they will be helpful. The link to the calender for the trainings is below. Click on the event that you would like to take to get more information and to register.  The classes are located in Columbia MO. 


Time logo

As I was working on a debate for one of my master classes over the weekend I stumbled across a neat resource from TIME Magazine. The have several interactive graphics! There are lost of interesting topics that they cover. I have listed some below but there are several more. 

How Do Children In Your State Test?

Test Patterns

In global testing, Shanghai and other parts of Asia left the U.S. in the dust

Balance Act

As the U.S. government continues its deficit spending, the need to raise taxes and cut large, popular government programs will become critical

Where Things Are Just Right for Life

Three ways to spot planets

How Geothermal Heat Works In Your Home

Geothermal heat pumps use the nearly constant temperature underground to heat or cool a building's interior

100 Days of the BP Spill: A Timeline

An interactive, day-by-day look at how BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Click on the bars below to access the important events from the first 100 days.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More Wild Animals!

If you liked Ustream check out Smithsonian Wild.  There are lost of video clips from all over the world.  There are some animals that are students will never get to see in real life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Free Webinar for Interactive White Boards

Here is the link to another free webinar from Simple K12. The topic this time is Getting The Most Out Of Your Interactive White Board

The information below is taken form the Getting The Most Out Of Your Interactive White Board page.

What: Live online webinar - "Integrating Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom PLUS What's New in the EdTech UNconference"
When: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Time, USA
Who: All are welcome, but space is limited!
Cost: Free!
Register for the webinar and receive the ideas and tools you need in order to get the most out of your interactive whiteboard.
(and we're sharing these secrets with you for FREE!)
**SPECIAL BONUS: All webinar attendees will receive a FREE copy of SimpleK12's Interactive Whiteboard Workbook … so sign uptoday!
This new workbook contains many real-life examples about using interactive whiteboards...examples titled:
1. “Explore Tectonics and Volcanoes Using Animation and Video”
2. “Create a Collaborative Play”
3. “Exploring the Lives of Literary Greats”
As well as 20+ more great ideas to start using in your classroom today! 

iPad as an interactive white board

This is a repost of a blog by Sam Gliksman from the iPads in Education webpage.  He talks about a program you can use to let your iPad replace your SMART Board...or any interactive white board. I have not use the program to know how well it works but it would be something to look into.

Can Your iPad Replace Your SmartBoard?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ustream - Live wild animals in your room!

A good friend of mine had links to some cool live feeds of animals on her Face Book pages last night.  They where form Ustream.  There was a live feed of an eagles nest and another of a nesting box with several (6 I think) owl chicks.  I think this would be so much fun to incorporate into a science lesson or for an enrichment project with the kids. I would pick a time of day that you log on and watch the birds for 5 min and then you can keep a journal about what they do.  You could use the journal for a story prompt later.  It would also be fun to see if they are doing the same thing at the same time every day. I do not know a lot about Ustream but I will be finding out more to pass on. Do be aware that there is a chat feature on the owls and you can see what others are saying. I am not sure if you can had that or not. As with any live feed you never know what you are going to see.  I did not see much last night.  The chat on the owls said that they had a live cricket for dinner the night before!

Monday, March 14, 2011

News Media - What do we teach the students?

The Pew Project For Excellence in Journalism released it's Sate of the News Media today. For the fist time ever it shows that more people get their news from the internet then the newspaper. This made me think about the importance of teaching students what a reliable source for news is. That can be tricky because there are several different opinions about what makes a good source.  In todays media there is so much diversity and spin it is hard to know what is reliable. What guide lines do you use when talking to your kids about how to find a good news source?  What web news sources do you send your students too? Leave a comment and lets see what we can come up with. 

Box Tops for Education

OK so I know this is not a technology topic but they help earn money for our schools!  Check out the Box Tops For Education webpage. There are several things that you can use to help earn more cash for your school.

Current Offers - Lets you know what offers there are to help get extra box tops.

Coupons - Coupons for products with box tops.

Collection Projects - Fun printables that can help your students collect box tops.

Friday, March 11, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is next Thursday.  Here are some activities that you might be able to use with your students. 

Quiz Your Noodle: St. Patrick's Day - Fun quiz on Discovery Kids!

Ireland: People and Places - More from Discovery Kids.  There are lots of good facts and a video about Ireland. 

SMART Notebook Lessons - This link has 39 St. Patrick's Day themed SMART Notebook Lessons from SMART Exchange. 

Crayola St. Patrick's Day - Some craft and printable activities from Crayola. 

Promethean Lessons - 13 St. Patrick's Day themed lesson from Promethean Planet. 


With the earth quake in Japan that has set off a tsunami waring for the entire west cost of North and South America and Hawaii there may be some students that have questions.  Below are some pages will you explain what a tsunami is.  The pages would also work well for an Earth Science or weather lesson.

FEMA for KIDS - Tsunami

NOAA - Tsunami for Kids - This page has links to several activities including games, coloring pages, and a video.  The video is very good and gives a lot of good information.  I know more about tsunamis after watching it. 

Tsunami - Derby Ridge Elementary Columbia, MO - This page also has several kinks to more information about Tsunamis.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


If you have a SMART Board you have been to the SMART Technologies webpage.  My question is how much do you use the SMART webpage?  There is a lot more there then just SMART Notebook lesson plans. Some of the things are just for SMART Board users but there are things that would be helpful to any interactive white board user.

Want to know more about your SMART Board and how to use it?  Would you like more information on how to use SMART Notebook?  You can do that and more online when you want with the SMART Learning Space.  After making a free account you have access to free and fee based classes.  There is more to this program then what is listed here.  Check it out and see what you can learn.

There are four SMART Publications that you can get by email based on your needs. There are publications for teachers, IT, and administrators.

SMART Exchange is the part of the webpage that most educators know well.  You can post lessons you have made and download lessons that other teachers have made.  This is a HUGE time saver!  If you are new to SMART it is a good place to start.  If you have not been to the SMART Exchange in the last month you may get a bit of a shock.  You now have to make an account to use SMART Exchange.

The Webinars page is one I have used a lot and feel that I have learned the most from.  There are several recorded webinars posted that cover several topics.

Don't forget to make SMART part of your PLN. SMART is on your favorite Social Media.  You can see what SMART has to say on Face Book and Twitter.  You should also check out their YouTube Chanel.


Space is something that kids love to learn about.  Here are several webpages that have wonderful photos and fun interactive resources for you to use with your students. Several of these webpages would work well with an interactive white board.

Kids Astronomy

NASA Space Place

Amazing Space

NASA Kids Club

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SMART Phonics lessons
Smart Phonics

The Scholastic webpage has 5 Phonic lessons that are ready for the SMART board. 

Learning to read with Startfall, Where children have fun learning to read!
Starfall has four different sections and several other activities to use with your students with using phonics. This page would work well with an interactive white board for full class instruction or with students on individual computers with head phones.  It could be uesed as part of your centers rotation. I find this page easy to use for teachers and students. My 5 year old pre-schooler has no trouble using this webpage with no help from mom or dad.

The ABC's section helps students get ready to read.  There is an activity for each letter.

Learning To Read has 15 book and activity groupings based letter combinations, sight words, and vowels. There are even some short videos.

The It's Fun To Read section is fun!  There are several different activities that the students can use.

I'm Reading has several eBooks for the students to explore.

There are several other activities that would be fun to do with you class for several holidays as well.  There is also an interactive calendar that is fun to use as well. It works well with an interactive white board and your calendar helper would love it!

Budget Hero

Do you think you could balance the Federal Budget?  Now you can try!  Marketplace has a game called Budget Hero.  In this game you get to pick what cuts to make and see the impact they would have on the budget.  You also get the option of embedding the Budget Hero game on your webpage.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Music In Our Schools Month

Here is the link to the Music In Our Schools Month Activities and Ideas from The National Association for Music Educators.

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday!  Here are few lessons and activities about Mardi Gras that would work with your kids.  Maybe you could end the day with one of the Power Points. Remember to double check all web activities you do with your students BEFORE you show them to the class. With a topic like Mardi Gras you could be in for a surprise! I looked at the links below when I posted but you never know what someone could change.

EL Civics Mardi Gras Lessons - This page was made for ELL students but would work well for any classroom.

Mardi Gras - Has some good Power Points, a web/think quest, and some other activities

Interactive Map of Mardi Gras - Shows the activities that the locals do!

Monday, March 7, 2011

What is the cloud?

Some people still have questions about what the "cloud" is.  Check out the link to the video by Common Craft to learn more about the cloud.

Cloud Computing in Plan English 

Is the cloud safe?

This is just another reminder that you need to back files up even if they are on the cloud.  Last week 40,000 Gmail users had no emails in there account when they logged on.

Listen to the NPR story How To Keep Data From Disappearing In The Cloud.

Check out the Google Gmail Blog post from Feb 28.

Why the Cloud?

I am so happy that I started doing most of my work in the cloud and NOT saving it on my computers hard drive.  My home computer got a nasty virus over the weekend. I was lucky because I did not have to panic about loosing my important documents because they were not saved on my computer.  I have been using the Sky Drive that is a part of my Hot Mail to do my computer work for home and school. The reason I started was because I could work on things at home and at school without having to remember my flash drive.  I never thought about the fact that my computer could crash and I would loss all my work. I am just happy that the 15 pages of my masters thesis are safe on the cloud, and backed up on a flash drive. There are several ways to work in the cloud Sky Drive is just one of them. I have used Google Doc too and I think I am going to start using it full time...more on that later. Be looking for more information about using the cloud.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Do You Dolch?

With the end of the year closer than most of would like to admit, teachers are trying to make sure that their students meet all of their benchmarks.  Here are three resources to help you get your kids where they need to be with their Dolch sight words. This would also be a good tool for parents that are getting their child ready for Kindergarten.

Dolch Word - This page has some printables and several online games for pre-primer through 3rd grade.  This is a fun site that the kids will love!

EdHelper Dolch Sight Word Printables - The page has links to printables for Dolch sight words for pre-primer through 3rd grade.  The printables include a word wall, stories, worksheets, and read and color books.

K12 Reader - More Dolch printables!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good Reason To Be A Tech Geek!

Check out this story from NPR's Morning Addition.  It made me think about how important it is that we not only teach with technology but tech our students to use technology.

Want A Job? You Ought To Be A Tech Geek

Music In Our Schools Month

March is Music In Our Schools Month.  Below are some some ideas that can be used to include music in any classroom. There are several lesson for writing!

ReadWrightThink MIOS Month Activities - This page has lesson plans, activities, and webpages.

Education World - Education World has lesson plans, activities, and other information about including music in the core classes.

eHow Music Schools 101 - This webpage has several has a lot of information about jobs having to do with music.  There is a video about How To Become A Music Producer.  There is also some simple tips on how to include music in the classroom.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Literacy Resources

RIF Reading is Fundamental

The Reading Is Fundamental webpage has several literacy resources that can be used for professional growth, classroom activities, and making the home to school connection.

The text below is taken form the Literacy Resources section of the Reading is Fundamental webpage.

RIF Resources Provide Information and Inspiration

Literary Resources offers a wealth of support and information about reading and children. The myriad choices reflect our determination to provide teachers and parents with current trends in education, down-to-earth suggestions on reading in the home, and no-nonsense strategies to improve children’s reading.
The Activities section features scores of learning opportunities for every age group and skill level through various activities, such as cultural heritage, drama, and writing.
Our Booklists provide topic suggestions—from Early Literacy to Multicultural Books and Motivating Young Readers.
The Articles section is a treasure trove of insight and inspiration for teachers and parents, exploring diverse literacy topics such as reading aloud, having fun at museums, and creating home libraries.
Our Brochures are easy-to-read guides offiering tips for reading with preschoolers and choosing the right books for youngsters.
The Multicultural literacy resources are at the heart of RIF's Multicultural Literacy Campign. They provide children windows to other cultures and mirrors of their own experience. 
As you can see they have much to offer!  I like the Monthly Activities Calendar under the activities link.  There are two calendars one for birth to age 5 and another for ages 6-15.  Linking this to your web page, or sending home a hard copy at the start of the month, would give parents some ideas of activities to do with their child.  I have started using them with my kids and it is a lot of fun.   You can get the calender in English or Spanish.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad is sometimes hard for students to understand.  Here are some good resources for you to use in your classrooms.

National Geographic The Underground Railroad - Using the drop down menu you can get several pages of information to use with your class.  There is a time line, a game called The Journey, for Kids, and Faces of Freedom.

Interactive Map - This is a nice interactive map that shows the routes out of the slave states to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Underground Railroad Flight to Freedom Program - This is a neat page with several interactive activities. Make sure you check out the activity at the top of the page. 

Scholastic The Underground Railroad - This was made for an interactive white board but could be used in other ways as well. The page also has teacher resources, slide shows, activities, and printables (one is a min-book). 

Songs of Freedom - This page gives the background on some of the songs sung by the slaves including Follow the Drinking Gourd, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and Wade in the Water. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Congratulations it's an iPad 2!

 iPad 2

Today Steve Jobs gave us the first look at the iPad2. It will join the Apple family on March 11th.  It has two cameras, HD video, and it is two times faster. Check out the Apple iPad2 page. There are lots of videos and photos. If you don't think you want an iPad you will after you watch the iPad2 Video. I know what I want for my birthday!

American Space Program Interactive Timeline

This is a cool interactive time line of the American space program posted by NPR. It starts in 1960 and goes to December of 2010.  It has good photos and information.  It would be a good addition to any lesson on space for any age group.

American Space Program Interactive Timeline

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

March 2 is Dr. Seuss Birthday.  Here are some links with info and activities that you can use in your classroom.

Seussville - The official Dr. Seuss webpage.

The Foot Book - SMART Board lesson

The Cat In The Hat - SMART Board lesson

Apples4Teacher - lesson plans, activities, and printable

ReadWrightThink - lesson plans, activities, and other web resources

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Free Scholastic Resources

Every time I go to the Scholastic webpage I find something new to use in the classroom.  Along with lesson plans there are interactive white board activities, computer lab favorites, and much more. There are also several student activities. There are activities for all of the core subjects.  Below is a list of some of my favorites!

FREE online resources for all of the Scholastic publications - Power Points, digital issues, videos, printables, and more that support the Scholastic Publications. The best part is, you can use them even if you do not subscribe to the publications.

Weather Watch - This is a fun interactive white board activity to help students learn about weather. 

The First Thanksgiving - This is a wonderful activity for Thanksgiving.  It is like taking your kids on a field trip to the 1600s.  This would be a good recourse for any lesson covering that time in American History.

All the Social Studies interactive white board activities - I could have spent all night playing the white board games!  The are fun and you learn a lot.

Prepare Students for the 21st Century

This is a repost from the SimpleK12 blog

[Written by Grace | 1 Mar 2011 | No Comment | ]
Psst! I’m about to share with you the secret we’ve discovered to engaging today’s digital students with 21st century projects that actually make homework fun – not to mention, can increase homework completion rates, information retention, and student engagement…
In just 14 short minutes you can learn how schools across the country are increasing their students’ performance in class with 21st century digital projects.
What: [14 Minute Webinar] How to Engage Your Students with 21st Century Projects
Who: All are welcome (but Space is limited – register now)
Cost: FREE!
BONUS: Just for attending, …

If you would like to attend the dates and times are:
Tuesday 7pm

Wednesday 11am