Thursday, December 20, 2012

Post of the Week: Dec. 20, 2012: Being Grateful Wall

This is a simple task, yet one I hope many of you will take a moment out of your day to actually do.. Please visit this wall(wisher) and share one or two things for which you are grateful.  

Whether personally, professionally, or both, I hope that this shared activity will help us all re-focus on the positives in our daily lives..

Click here:

Have a wonderful holiday break with friends and family !!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Video of the Week: Learning to Change - Changing to Learn

A must view.. 

For those who have taken any of the graduate courses I've taught over the years, you may recognize one or more of these highly respected and internationally recognized educators ...  One speaker was highlighted in a prior blog post.  This is not far off from reality.. brace yourselves.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thought of the Week: What's Obvious to You...

"What's Obvious to You
Is Amazing to Someone Else"

This so resonated with me.. Ask any of the teachers in Sudbury with whom I co-present at various tech/educational conferences.  I panic beforehand thinking I have nothing new to offer the audience. "Who is going to be impressed with what we're saying?  Don't they know all of this already?  They're going to laugh at me for sure.. !" Those are the things that play in my head.  But each and every time I put myself out there, I always end up feeling awesome and that I truly did contribute!  People DO learn from me, and I from them.  

Teachers are well known (generally speaking) for feeling that their work is not worthy of sharing with others.  We want kids to know that their voices are worthy, and worthy of publication to an audience.  So too are our voices.. so make your voices heard!  Blog, Tweet, Comment on blogs (hint, hint).. You never know if what you have to say is amazing to someone else.. !

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tip of the Week: November is National Epilepsy Month

Did you know that 1 out of 100 people in the US has some form of epilepsy? A cause near and dear to my heart.. here's my glog packed with information about this disorder... 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Tip of the Week: Nov. 16: Socrative

Socrative is a super simple but very powerful FREE tool that lets you quiz your students.  Save a ton of time gathering student test data in multiple choice, true/false, short answer format.  You can even run self-paced quizzes, exit tickets, and even a competitive game..  Watch the video below for a quick overview.. you'll be impressed! 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tip of the Week: Nov. 4: ThingLink

ThingLink is a free, web-based tool that lets you take any static image and make it interactive.  You place 'hot-spots' anywhere on that image to weblinks, videos or audio recordings.  This can be sent to anyone to view and interact with, or you can embed it on your website, blog, social media site.. practically anywhere.  

Uses in the classroom:
  • Create a themed collage with links to multimedia resources to support all learners.
  • Create a word cloud using Wordle, then turn the largest words into hot spots with links to more information.
  • Use an image as a launcher with links leading to student-created projects.
  • Post an historical photo and use 3rd party software, such as SoundCloud, to give students the opportunity to record their voices speaking from the person's point of view.
  • Use a Thinglinked image to create a scavenger hunt or modified WebQuest.* 
Here's a link to a blog entry on ThingLink, written by Robin Talkowski, a  Discovery Educator Network colleague of mine and Reading Specialist in the Bedford School system) titled "Discovery Images Help Teach Students to Make Inferences."

And here's another cool one found in the ThingLink gallery on
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis..

Can you think of other ways to use this simple yet powerful digital teaching tool??

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Post of the Week: Yong Zhao

"Creative, Entrepreneurial, and Global: 21st Century Education"

As I've been gearing up for the 2012 MassCUE Conference  (Massachusetts Computer Using Educators) coming up this week, I was reminded of last year's keynote presentation that truly had an impact on me. Yong Zhao is a University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he serves as the founding director of the U.S.–China Center for Research on Educational Excellence and the Center for Teaching and Technology. I've actually had the privilege of hearing Yong Zhao speak twice. In addition to the 2011 MassCUE Conference, he also spoke at the Massachusetts New Literacies Institute for which I was honored to be a 'teacher leader' during the year-long project. Both times I left feeling a little more uplifted.

Zhao challenges the path our country is taking with standardized curriculum and high stakes testing. He feels that placing a lesser priority on the arts, sciences, humanities and individuality is moving our country and educational system in the wrong direction. The implications of globalization and technology on education are to be taken seriously and the focus we're taking has Zhao very concerned.

Zhao also serves as Executive Director of the Confucius Institute, was born and raised in China, teaching English before coming to the United States in the early 1990s. He lives in Okemos, Michigan, with his wife and two children.

Watch this 10 minute video. Then check out Zhao's website and bio. I think his thoughts on the classroom 'talent show' will make you smile.  I personally find him fascinating, refreshing, and affirming!  What are your feelings about this topic?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tip of the Week: October 9, 2012: Wallwisher

Wallwisher is just what the logo says:  a virtual wall onto which you and others can post sticky notes on any topic.  This FREE web 2.0 tool can be used in classrooms (or staff/PLC meetings!) to support any of the following: 

Activating prior knowledge
'Ticket to Leave'
Dipsticking - formative Assessment 
Posing a Question... Get Answers!
Collecting Feedback
Holding a discussion any topic

You can embed video, weblinks or keep it simple! You can monitor responses, or not! Students must post short, "tweet-like" responses which is a skill in summarizing and being concise.. Look at all the ways you can use this amazingly simple, quick to set up, tool in your personal or professional life!  


Monday, September 24, 2012

Tip of the Week: Sept. 26, 2012: Media Literacy and Web 2.0

Web 2.0 in 2012

Check out this short video for a nice overview of 
Web 2.0 and Media Literacy...

What are YOUR thoughts?
Where do you see Web 2.0 in your classroom?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tip of the Week: September 18, 2012: DEStreaming

Discovery Education's 

DEStreaming Plus!!

For many of you this may be 'old news' but for our newer staff members, and as a reminder to everyone, make sure you dive in to all that our DEStreaming educational video subscription provides for you!  Searchable by keyword, content area, grade level, and even by Common Core standards, anyone in the district can create an account and download full length educational videos as well as "teachable moment" video clips to use in your teaching.  Embed those clips into your flipcharts, Keynotes, Glogs, classroom blog/wiki, and so much more.  Students can log in with a unique student access code and use clips to create digital stories or to include in digital presentations.

Create a digital story (common core digital writing standard!) by including content appropriate video clips, images and/or audio files  into iMovie. Then, strip out the audio on the imported video clips and have students retell or create a new 'story' by recording their own voice as the soundtrack.  Your students will have a much deeper understanding of the topic at hand, in any content area, by designing, authoring, storyboarding, and presenting what they know and understand this way. 

This is just one of the many ways you can incorporate video into your teaching as well as to put in the hands of your students to enhance their learning..

In addition to the tens of thousands of videos at your fingertips (most include supporting teaching materials and handouts), you will also find interactive activities, audio files, images, clip art, writing prompts, encyclopedia articles and MUCH more! You can create classes and make assignments, quizzes and writing prompts for them.

Click HERE to go to our Tech Tips page on DEStreaming where you will find your school code that will allow you to create your account.  Included are videos that show you the basics of navigating the resources found on DEStreaming 

Enjoy Reed Timmer of 'Storm Chasers' on 
tracking and classifying storms..