Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Free Star Wars eBook and Mother’s Day eCards

For a short while, Powells Books   will offer Betrayal, the first volume in the Star Wars Legacy of the Force series free eBook!

Just in time for Mother’s Day (jk)!

Betrayal follows the heroes of the new Jedi order and the second generation children of Anakin Skywalker. It is .  Click here for more details: Special Powells.com offer

Also, Hallmark has new, spiffy eCards just in time for Mother’s Day. hallmark.jpg

Why not encourage early finishers to create an eCard for moms, grandmas, aunties, etc…

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Order This Book!

“Inquisitive minds are the safeguards of our democracy, now and forever.” John Barell

And they also may scare us to quivering mush!

Why? Because our perception is that questions may lead us away:

From the “right” answer-
From the prescribed time allotment-
From our plan and our pacing-
Toward a realm where the teacher is not the all-seeing, all-knowing Carnac of the Classroom. carnac.jpg

Thank Goodness! What a Relief!

Realize this and you will live longer and have more fun!

And you will have time to sit down, rest a bit, and read, “Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” by John Barell, Professor Emeritus, Montclair State University. (Corwin Press and Amazon)

Why Are School Buses Always Yellow” encapsulates years of theory into workable practice. I probably would have saved thousands in college tuition loans if this resource had blessed me decades ago! (virtual “Wish I’d had a V-8” moment)!

Barell reiterates that questions signal higher-order thought processing which is the goal of effective classroom interaction and innovation. He reminds us that student questions are the attainment of the highest thinking skills. It is what we trained for people!

Too many books declare WHAT an important concept inquiry teaching is. But, after the studies are noted and the experts quoted, there are very few pages left for the actual implementation: HOW TO DO inquiry-oriented teaching. It’s about time that a book came along that speaks to “HOW” to reach and develop inquisitive questioning.

Barell’s visits to classrooms and discussions with both teachers and students form a dynamic role-play model. You will no doubt relate to the student responses and learn from modeling Barell’s effective inquiry teaching practices. I also appreciate the structure of the chapters. Barell allows space for reflection, an often overlooked phase of learning.

Granny Newlen always admonished us kids to “Learn, discuss, then then get up and move.” She used such a phrase to get us up off the couch for learning-walk where we would tell her what we had learned at school.

Go on your own “learning walk” to the bookstore, online or F2F, and buy this book. 😉

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Warmup Prompts Week of April 28

April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate with these Warm-ups!

Week of April 28:

1. Read and solve each of these math poems. Can you write your own math poem?
2. In your opinion, can a sentence be a poem? Why or why not?
3. Read these samples “The Red Wheelbarrow”  “When You Are Old”  “The New Dog”  What do these poems have in common?
4.  Choose one of the following pictures and write at least six descriptive words specifically about the colors you see. Cape May Lighthouse  Horse swing Snowy Woods  Maple Tree in the Spring
5. Read 4 or 5 color poems written by 3rd graders at this site Which one do you like best? Try adding a line anywhere in one of the poems.

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The (Eco) Blogger Wears Prada

 

 

purse04.jpgThe (Eco) Blogger Wears Prada

 

 

This Eco-friendly post goes beyond itchy hemp clothing. The focus is on the great Eco-Friendly accessories.

gloves.jpg Be Eco-Friendly with a dash of style in these great Dots Gloves from Kim and Jason’s wonderful Lemonade Stand. Stay and click awhile at this site for sweet cartoons, insightful articles, and reaffirming stories from two creative innovators. (but get the gloves first).

Michelle Kaufmann on her blog showcased these next two accessories. Instructions included for each one:

Nifty clutch purses, iPod, and/or cell phone holders. mkpockets.jpg

Plantable Paper Journals plantable-paper.jpg

waterwall5.jpg Ok, This beautiful Waterwall is not an accessory but literally a cool home or classroom alternative to the sweltering heat that is just around the calendar corner.

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Classroom Spring Clean Phase 1

My thoughts on cleaning are the polar opposite of my mother’s. At my mom’s house, the floor is so clean you can off it. At my house we do, but usually it is usually because the table tops are cluttered and the couch is covered. 😀

 

Having resigned myself to the futility of Home Spring Cleaning, this year I am turning my attention to Classrooms where we all have dozens of happy hands just waiting for an assertive suggestion (I am referring to our students, not us just doing things super fast.)

In this first phase of a 2-phase series (concluding next week) we will prepare for and then launch The First Annual Classroom Spring Clean.

(Cue the Horns!) Phase 1–Prep Steps for You:

Digital Spring Clean for your computer or laptop: Today after school clean out your temps/history cache, run any virus software updates, downloads any plug-ins that you have been meaning to use (Shockwave, Java, Real Player, etc…) and run a virus scan. Set the defrag to run as you leave school today (Start button/All Programs/Accessories). Be sure to restart your machine tomorrow when you arrive at school.

Invites:Invite #1: Spring Clean for Eyeglasses– The Lions Club International has a fantastic program called Recycle for Sight, which collects, reuses, refurbishes, then redistributes unwanted eyeglasses to people in developing countries who need them.

The World Health Organization estimates that 153 million people  have uncorrected refractive errors, such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism, which can be easily corrected with eyeglasses.

Invite yourself and your students to help in this effort by bringing in eyeglasses. To avoid misunderstandings require students to bring a note from parent releasing the glasses for donation.

Invite #2: Paper Rolls–Invite students to bring in the cardboard rolls from paper towels and toilet paper. These will be put to great use in Phase 2 in May.

Invite #3: Spring Clean Paper Shuffle–Many of us pay some or many of our bills online. But along with monthly statements come pre-addressed envelopes. Save these envelopes, bring them to your classroom. Today, invite your students to also bring in any unused pre-addy envelopes. These will be put to great use in Phase 2 in May.

Spring Clean Shopping Prep: Buy disposable camera for use in Phase 2 next week. NOTE: You may be tempted while at the store to buy cleaning products to help you with actual classroom scrubbing. Please be careful about the types of products you buy or bring from home to do any classroom spring cleaning. Most school districts require only district approved cleaning products used by the custodians. Even Seventh Gen or Mrs. Meyers  may be too harsh for use with students. Theraputic Prep Step for You: Spring clean your mind today: take a walk! takeawalk.jpg

 

 

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Publish Earth Day Inspired Videos

Michelle Kaufmann’s blog will inspire you to hug more than just trees. (NOTE: See next week’s Warmups for ideas inspired by my morning with her blog!)

In her April 21 post  she shares a video describing ideas for observing Earth Day and invites video submissions of great ideas for celebrating the planet, recycling, not just for a once-a-year event such as Earth Day, but all year-long.

This is a energizing avenue for a real-world publishing experience for students (and their teachers!) Submit a message to Kaufmann’s site by June 1st giving your video link location (youtube, teachertube, personal upload, etc…). An eco-friendly Solio solar charger, serves as Grand Prize because, as Kaufmann writes, “we believe one brilliant green idea deserves another.”

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My Tech Top Ten

My “Top Ten” recommendations center on creating learning for teachers with free websites allowed by school filters.

1. Page Flakes: PageFlakes is an interactive webpage authorship portal. Students love the interactivity and message board options for immediate feedback with teachers. See samples on Plate tectonics and Searching
2. Squidoo: What is Squidoo? an interactive web-editor portal interface with lots of cool interactive modules! Check out these samples: Mid-Summer Night’s Dream Squidoo, Fall Leaves Squidoo, Summer Resources Squidoo
3. Google Lit Trips: Google Lit Trips is the brainchild of Jerome Burg who created this innovative trek using Google Earth to follow the locations in literature. I recently showed a Google Lit Trip on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and students left the whole-group instruction circle for the computer lab with so much energy and enthusiasm I thought they were running for a Miley Cyrus concert ticket line!
4. Fling the Teacher: Students answer questions you create, earning the privilege of tossing the teacher aside in a trebuchet when they reach 100% mastery. Here is a sample from music and one from science.
5. Library Thing: Collect all your favorites in an online, virtual library! LibraryThing, free for the first 200 titles, offers a personalized virtual library of your class reading list with the collaboration and discussion group feature of a world-wide book club. Here is a sample.
6. Assign-A-Day Calendar: This free collaborative calendar keeps assignments within easy clicks of parents and students. Teachers can easily copy assignments from one year to the next and work collaboratively with other teachers through the shared calendar feature.
7. I Keep Bookmarks: Online Bookmark/Favorite storage for teachers to organize their bookmarks/favorites from multiple computers in one place and provide links for students to access from multiple locations.
8. Edutopia: The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s gift to educators with hundreds of videos, teaching modules, articles, teaching polls, expert interviews, research, and resources highlighting innovation and success in the classroom.
9. EduBlogs: A free blog service and community for educators or anyone interested in education.
10. Microsoft Reader: Free Microsoft download (no, it is not an oxymoron) and ebook reader with direct links to downloading free content and samples. Students absolutely love to see their stories, poems, essays, and other writing samples converting to an auditory e-book.

Well, that is my Top Ten List. What about your Tech Top Ten?

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Warmups Week of April 21

Here are this week’s Warmups. Have a great week!
Week of April 21

1.) Barbara Park wrote the Junie B. Jones children’s book and her birthday is April 21. How many total books has she written?
2.) How many books have you read this year? Have you read more books or webpages? Ask two friends and record their answers.
3.) Think & Answer: “Today will be a success for me if…”
4.) How many years did our Civil War last ?(give the years).
5.) Study these Civil War Graphs. Pick one and write a 1-sentence summary of the data you see. Be sure to compare North and South and write one equation based on the graph you choose.

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The Blogger Wears Prada

purse04.jpg  … Or wants to. Educators on a budget still yearn for Prada-esque apparel on a miniscule budget. On selected Fridays, when I am home because the airlines decided not to stir the flight delay cauldron, I will spotlight the best stores, products, and websites for all things In-Digital-Style.

If the weight of all things IRS is still “taxing” you, considejournal.jpgr an eco-friendly purse from The Sak to help your tired, overtaxed shoulders.

In the Writing 1.0 days, before blogs, wikis, and Twitter there were journals. How therapeutic to sit quietly and write your tax angst away. See the collection of beautiful journals that emphasized a slower pace to writing at Galison.

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Tech BFF: Boo-lify–So Fun It’s Scary!

BFF is an acronym for “Best Friend Forever.” These websites and tips are so good that they will become your technology BFFs!

Well, the day after taxes is always dicey. Waking up on “the morning after” the midnight post box dash requires tentative steps and reassurance from attempting and completing small, manageable tasks.  Like opening and catching up on email.In my email Jane Hart’s daily E-Learning Pick spotlighted Boolify, a new educational Boolean search tool that accesses Google’s Safe Search. Apparently, while I have spent the past several weeks searching for all things deductible, David Crusoe and his team created a new search engine. What technological fortitude!

You get to drag and drop cool, little puzzle pieces to create your search. I love the idea of a puzzle I can solve!

…unlike income taxes!

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