AR Your Worksheets

Worksheets have been a big part of school for years.  They can be found in virtually all subjects and in every school in America. With the advent of Augmented reality you can now make your paper worksheets interactive and more engaging for students. In the following video Johnny Kissko demonstrates what a worksheet can look like with this new technology.

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Start class off right with a historic intro activity!

As a history teacher I am always looking for ways to grab students attention and interest in history. One of the ways that I have found particularly helpful are introduction activities that bring to light topics and events that students do not always hear about. The following list of websites not only bring history to life by pointing out what happened on this day in history. It also exposes students to a variety of different types of events and historic information. This variety seems to grab almost every students at one time or another during the year. I simply start of the class by reading through one of the events or a couple of events from one of the websites. Then I have a quick discussion or question and answer session and move on to the lesson for the day. At this point I often have their attention and they have settled down for class.  This type of introduction activity is so powerful I often have students come back years later and bring up topics they learned through these various websites.

This day in History

This site is probably the best of the bunch they have great videos that you can play right as the class bell rings. They are interesting and can hold students attention for the 1-3 minutes in length.

 

 

BBC “On This Day”

For a another site check out the BBC’s “On This Day”. Here you are able to focus on one topic with a more information to have discussion or class activity.

For an American History focus only try the Library of Congress’s Today in History Archive. Here you can search by day and find some great American History introduction topics to discuss.

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New Year! New Whiteboard? Here Is Where To Start!

So, if you like many teachers in the country received a new Whiteboard in your classroom this summer you are probably wondering how you can use it. I was in this position a few years ago. The whiteboard I received came with no training or help just the expectation that I would incorporate this tool into my classroom. Well like most technologies there are some things you need to know to effectively incorporate this technology into your classroom. Often there are help files and manuals that come with these new whiteboards but they are not enough to really allow you to truly integrate this tool into you classroom. Some of these boards like the Promethean boards have a great website to assist you.  Promethean Planet  “http://www.prometheanplanet.com/en-us/”, this is a great website that provides example lessons and tutorials on almost all areas of their whiteboards. There are also some third party websites that have been truly helpful in learning how to incorporate whiteboards in the classroom.To help you get started here are a few resources I have used over the last few years to assist me in using my Whiteboard.

Other Resources:

  1. Promethean Planet
  2. Whiteboard Training
  3. Polyvision Tutorials
  4. SMART BOARD for BULLDOGS 
  5. Activeboard Resources 
  6. Whiteboard Tutorials 
  7. SMART Board Tutorials 
  8. Whiteboard Resource Room
  9. SMART Board Resource
  10. Whiteboards with Math Tutorials
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Create A QR Treasure Hunt! Simply and Quickly!

QR Treasure HuntI have come across many different websites that help teachers incorporate technology into the classroom but the QR Treasure Hunt Website simply is one of the best. It is engaging, different and really captivates students attention. It is a win win for any teacher to use.

QR

Teachers can use this website to create a series of questions which are then converted into QR codes, (like the one above) that contain text files for your students to read. Then you simply place these QR codes around the room or school and give them a time limit to answer all of the questions. The student back with the most correct answers at the end of the time limit wins. It is a fantastic first week of school exercise to get students thinking about a specific topic. This website does all of the work for the teachers. Just simply type in the questions and the site creates all of the QR codes. If you are looking for some QR code readers for the students to use see the list below. This is a must try in the classroom for all teachers.

QR Code Reader List: If I am missing one please let me know.

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A Ray of Hope For Educators

Well, I am back from a great vacation and feel rested and recharged.  Over the past few days as I began to catching up on my reading and correspondence it did not take long for my frustration with ed-reform and other educational issues to once again frustrate me. Then I found a ray of hope.  Matt Damons speech over the past weekend on saving our schools and his defense of teachers really made me feel better as an educator. If you have not seen these videos I have embedded them below for you to watch. I highly recommend you watch them.

Matt Damon‘s Defense of Teachers

Matt Damon’s speech at the Save Our Schools March in DC

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Challenge Based Resource

Writing Tutorial #3

Image by topgold via Flickr

As I begin to develop my curriculum and materials for the upcoming school year I ran across a great website on challenge based learning. This site provides resources and examples that really demonstrate how to develop and implement this type of learning environment. It is an excellent resource to help teachers begin to develop their own lessons. Not only am I excited about giving this a try in the upcoming school year I believe it to be a great resource for other teachers to use.

Check it out at http://ali.apple.com/cbl/

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Learning not brought to You by the letter A

The video below is a great example of really looking at what motivates people to learn.  So often schools seem to miss the mark in motivating their students.  There is an intrinsic motivator in all students, the key for schools and educators is to tap into this to really achieve success.  Simple saying that all students are motivated by grades leaves out a huge portion of the students population.  Many students are not motivated by grades and often are turned away from school by them. Watch the video below as Dr. Tae discusses how many students are motivated today.

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Historic Witness Podcasts

I was reading one of my favorite blogs yesterday, Free Technology For Teachers, and came across a great resource post called BBC Witness Podcasts.  BBC Witness Podcasts provides first hand accounts of historical events.  This would be an excellent way to bring history to life for your students.  After listening to a few of these accounts I began to think of many ways to incorporate these historic podcasts into the classroom. They are engaging and provide insight and information about hisotoric events in a new light.

As they state on their website: “Witness – history as told by the people who were there. Five days a week we will be talking to people who lived through moments of history to bring you a personal perspective on world events.”

Check this site out at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/witness

If you have not read Free Technology for Teachers blog I highly recommend you bookmark that site check it out at: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

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What do your students think? It might surprise you!

At the end of every year I survey my students about their thoughts on my class.  It has been a very enlightening experience. It has also been very eye opening and a humbling experience as well.  Over all however the benefits are well worth the time and effort of setting up a survey. Every year these surveys allow me to restructure or tweak my class in certain ways that really do prove to be beneficial. I really recommend that all teachers have their students complete short end of year surveys to assess their class.  While the results can be humbling at times this feed back can really be valuable to teachers to look at areas of their teaching they may need to improve to better meet the needs of their students.

This year I used a website called Jotform to create my survey and it was very simple to use and seemed to work well for my students. Watch the video below for a quick overview of their service.  They do have a free version and two paid plans. I simply bought a plan for one month and conducted my survey it was quite simple and intuitive to use. Check them out at http://www.jotform.com/

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How Students See the World

The video below was a project asking students to show the world as they see it.  This is a very interesting video that poses some serious questions for educators.  We all know that every generation is different and to be a successful teacher we have to adapt to meet the needs of the current generation. The integration of technology for the current generation is not a gimmick or fad it is how they interact, learn and live their lives. To be a successful teacher and reach the current generation technology is now a key component. Watch the video below.

Click here to see the project

http://visionsofstudents.org/

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