Monday, November 28, 2011

Macy's Believe

I'm sure we have all seen this commercial once or twice during our holiday season:

Since my last blog post about Macy's Believe campaign, there has been over 270,00 letters received. This means over $270,000 will be donated to Make A Wish! What an amazing total thus far, I believe that we can make it to 1 million!

Please check out the following links to get your class or kids involved in this wonderful cause! All you have to do is write a letter to Santa and place it into Santa's mailbox located in any Macy's store. For every letter sent, Macy's will donate $1 towards Make a Wish.

Create your letter - Write your letter to Santa here. Decorate and print!

Watch and read the story about Virginia

Santa's Post office - learn all about Santa's special post office located at Macy's

Make a Wish - Learn about the Make a Wish Foundation and how it impacts children and their families. Here you can download a template of a letter or create one online.

Believe app - This is a great app to have on your phone when visiting Macy's. Bring Virginia and her friends to life with this AR app!

Teacher toolkit - Here is a tool kit created by Macy's to help in the classroom.

Have you written a letter to Santa and sent it via Macy's special post office? Please comment below about your experience.

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 11/28/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Terrific Turkey Day Games and Sites

Looking for some fun last minute turkey day games and sites? Here are a few that you might find fun with your kids or students.

Thanksgiving traditions - Learn all about different Thanksgiving traditions with the National Geographic kids site.

Thanksgiving games - Many fun and educational thanksgiving day themed games.

Thanksgiving turkey surprise - Thanksgiving turkey surprise e-book

Ryder Rabbit - Ryder Rabbit's thanksgiving day surprise

Original Thanksgiving story - Thanksgiving day original story that can be read to you and downloaded

ABC's of thanksgiving - ABC'S of thanksgiving day book

Squanto a talking story with animation from The Weekly Reader called The Story of Squanto. 

Looking for more? Check out my Thanksgiving site

Gobble till you wobble! 

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 11/22/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jen's Gems Primary Apps

Jen's Gems Primary Apps

A great site to view many different apps available for education. You can search my subject area such as math, literacy, science, and more!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Post: Elaine Hirsch: How iPad Textbooks can be Used in Schools

Guest Post by Elaine Hirsch

Thank you Elaine for developing another blog post about a critical piece in our educational system.

How iPad Textbooks can be Used in Schools

As technological innovation continues in our modern society, changes in the delivery of content are now foremost. Desktop and laptop computers quickly became more commonplace after their initial appearance, and it will be the same in the case of e-readers and tablet computers. While many think the novelty of the iPad will be short-lived, a strong camp of thinkers is promoting iPads as the next classroom revolution.

iPads are at this point still the most technologically innovative and user-friendly tablets available. The iPad offers mobile multimedia options, thus kicking learning up a notch as an entertaining way to engage students in a slim, portable package. Many teachers from elementary schools to
master's degree programs realize the future of textbooks will be digital, both to save paper and energy, and for easier distribution.

Therefore, the logical step is to use the latest innovation in personal computing tools to be able to access these textbooks. Schools in 600 districts across the nation are already supplying their students with new iPads.

George Fox University in Oregon has attracted students by giving out laptops to incoming freshmen since 1991. This has always been an expensive program, and officials have considered dropping it. However, offering iPads might prove just as attractive to prospective students for half the cost of the laptops they've been offering.

The principal at Burlington High School in suburban Boston sees the iPad as a more cost-efficient alternative to textbooks. The iPad's $500 price tag seems like an intensive budget drain, but in the long term the savings are significant. Multiple textbooks (and buying new editions) per student easily exceed this amount every year. On the other hand, digital textbooks can be updated by the publishers with ease and at somewhat reduced cost.

Even schools with smaller budgets are purchasing the tablets. Woodford County High School in Kentucky is the first public school in the state to give every single one of its 1,250 students a new iPad. The school is using the iPads for digital textbooks, and for the many subject-specific learning apps, such as Star Walk for astronomy, Molecules for biology, iTranslate for language courses, and many more.

The iPad is front and center in the future of education. By engaging students through multimedia, this isn't just an entertaining tech gadget; it's a novel educational device.

Sam's Super Diigo Finds! 11/18/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

TRETC Livebinder

My colleague, Mindy McMahen and I presented about how to use livebinders in the classroom. This was a create and take session. We taught and demonstrated all about livebinders and then gave time for the participants to investigate the site.

Here is a link to our livebinder

Random TRETC resources

Here are some random resources I gained from TRETC

  • edistorm - similar to wallwisher free post it not bulletin board, able to vote on ideas!
  • - free online management of instruction, tools, assessment
  • - video creator

TRETC conference part 3

The second session I attended was about learning portals. Learning portals are a great way to extend learning outside the walls of the classroom.

Walls come tumbling down
    • What are learning portals?
    • real time learning
    • diverse learning
    • 24/7
    • provides more resources
    • discussion boards
    • polls
    • reminders/calendars
    • contact
    • enrichment and review
    • links and resources
    • videos / podcasts
    • class notes
  • paradigm shift in instructional design
  • we need to change the way we think to present information differently
  • We don’t need to know how to code or know how to create websites to create a learning portal
  • A learning portal is never finished it is fluid and grows
  • this is a blended approach used for supplementation
  • digital divide is shifting from have and have not to know how and  not know how to

Things to put on your webpage
  • animoto
  • crocdoc
  • slideshare
  • coveritlive
  • screecast
  • edistorm
  • quizlet
  • glogster
  • khanacademy

  • edistorm - similar to wallwisher free post it not bulletin board, able to vote on ideas!
  • - free online management of instruction, tools, assessment

TRETC conference part 2

The first session I attended was about how to create an online school for a district. This session really inspired me. These are the notes and tips I received from the session:

Online learning panel  session
  • There is no such thing as  a one size fits all online learning needs of kids, teachers, and administrators
  • online learning is an agent of change
  • Create individual plans and schedules for students which accommodates their own learning path
  • can give acceleration to students, along with remediation if needed
  • online learning is a quality option
  • under promise and over deliver
  • education is changing there is now choice
  • paradigm shift - education in a new light
  • asynchronous or synchronous learning or blended learning
  • Need passion, drive, dedication
  • be flexible

  • How to get an online school started?
    • look at this as a new school
    • review policies
    • focus on students and learning
    • purpose of the school
    • bring students and teachers into communication
    • information for parents regarding policies, procedures, rules
    • communication is key
    • parent and student buy in
    • support for teachers who are going into a virtual world (training, workshops, updates).
    • engagement - find engaging activities online, not just reading and writing
    • visionary planning
    • goal setting
    • research and outreach
    • reflect
    • align curriculum with goals
    • don’t rush it!
    • all about customer service perspective
    • monetary investment
    • learn from mistakes

TRETC conference part 1

Good morning. I thought I would take some time to discuss the TRETC conference that I attended yesterday with a colleague of mine. Here are some notes from the keynote speaker panel.
  • Gregg Behr - keynote speaker along with panelist
    • great time to be a kid to learn about informal learning - anytime, anywhere learning
    • kids today are learning anytime and anyplace
    • Neil
      • students can create sites, videos, blogs, podcast, etc as independent study or differentiated instruction assignments
    • Traci Blazosky
      • give students choices regarding assignments (tic tac toe board)
      • go on virtual field trips with your class by using google earth
      • combination with Web 2.0 tools such as Glogster, blabberize
      • technology evens the playing field for projects and assignments.
    • Dr. Wilder
      • find your element
      • ask students
      • let students find their dreams
    • Karen Cater
      • education is a matter of national security and economic development
      • challenge students get them fully engaged
      • shift to digital learning environment from paper based
      • learn from people, books, and interfaces
      • accessibility is vital
      • text to speech, video calls online
      • assistive tech and accessible options are made for individuals with disabilities, but are used everyday by others
      • opportunity to learn and engage at this time are strong
    • Badges or achievements in formal education
      • informal learning spaces
      • badges for mastery of topics learned
      • move to competency based system

Resources from the keynote: