Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tip of the Week: Google Voice Search!: May 28, 2013

Google and Chrome are working together to enhance features for all learners. While using the Chrome web browser, and then going to Google to search the web, you will notice a microphone icon to the right of the search window. You can click the microphone and speak your search terms! I was amazed at how accurately it picked up my voice! 

Watch this video then follow the directions below:

Simply use Chrome for your browser, then go to! Click the microphone icon and start speaking...

If you get a message about recognizing the microphone on your machine, simply go to your System Preferences, choose Sound, Input, and make sure 'Internal Microphone' is selected.  You could attach external microphones too, but make sure those are the ones selected in System Preferences should you decide to use those instead.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tip of the Week: "What IS Web 2.0?": May 22, 2013

Below is a short video created by Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson from Discovery Education.  They explain what 'Web 2.0' is and how it impacts education ... in a fun way!  


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tip of the Week: Communicating, Commenting and the Common Core!: May 13, 2013

You know about the 3 R's... Do you also know about the "4 C's" of 21st Century Skills as they are supported by the Common Core standards? In addition to the "3 R's" that we grew up with, the "4 C's" are designed to prepare our students for the demands of the 21st century workplace and community.  The "4 C's" are known as:
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity/Innovation
Were you aware that the Common Core ELA standards call for publishing, communicating, creating and commenting ONLINE ? Did you know these actually apply to ALL content areas, not just ELA?
Students are expected to be able to collaborate, comment and publish posts and comments effectively and properly. GlogsterEDU, GoogleApps, Storybird, Backchanneling, Blogs, Wikis, and so many other web 2.0 tools incorporate these key elements.  As educators, it is our responsibility to teach and support students as they learn how to be model digital citizens.

I found these great tips regarding 'commenting' and thought you might find them helpful in your teaching:

Rules for Commenting:
  • Acknowledge the author of the blog post.
  • Let the author know if you agree with him/her and why.
  • It is also ok to disagree with something, just let the author know why you feel that way.
  • One word comments are not very useful. Writing just “cool” or “nice” are not very helpful and don’t let the author of the blog post really know what you are thinking.
  • Always make sure you follow “netiquette.” Think if it is appropriate BEFORE you hit the submit button.
  • Always be polite. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with what you are reading in a blog. Don’t write anything you would be ashamed of saying to someone’s face.
  • Don’t hurt somebody’s feelings.
Comment Starters:
  • This made me think about…….
  • I wonder why…….
  • Your writing made me form an opinion about……. 
  • This post is relevant because…….
  • Your writing made me think that we should…….
  • I wish I understood why…….
  • This is important because…….
  • Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….
  • I discovered…….
  • I don’t understand…….
  • I was reminded that……. 
  • I found myself wondering…….

And here is a portion of the directions for a  GlogsterEDU project created by one of our very own colleagues, Liz Kerrigan, that deals with the commenting feature:

Making a comment on a glog:
  1. Click on the glog that you would like to view. After spending some time exploring, scroll down to where it says Comments. Below Comments, there is a box that says “enter text...”.
  2. Write your comment in the text box. (See below for comment criteria.)
  3. After proofreading, checking for spelling, capitalization, and grammar, press send. Your comment will appear below the text box.
  4. Repeat this same procedure for each glog you are commenting on.
Comment Criteria:
  • Comments must be positive.
  • Comments must be specific.
  • Comments must be related to the information in the glog.
"Comment starters” to help formulate
your comments:
  • I really liked ........................ about your glog because.............
  • My favorite part about your glog was..................... because.............
  • The most informative part about your glog was........... It taught me that.............
  • Once question that your glog sparked for me is .................
  • Once connection I can make to your glog is .......................
Thanks for sharing Liz!

And finally..

Peter Reynolds (author/illustrator of The Dot, Ish, The North Star, and other great books), in partnership with P21 (the Partnership for 21st Century Skills), created the following movie that summarizes these 4 C's as only Peter can do:

Enjoy !

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tip of the Week: Presentation Rubrics, K-8 - 21st Century Skills and CC : May 1st, 2013

The Common Core Standards address the "4 C's"of 21st Century skills: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.  They also address Speaking Skills.  I found some great Presentation Rubrics created by the Buck Institute (, a leader in the PBL (Project Based Learning) field.   Note that these rubrics address the speaking and presentation elements and not the content-specific ones, which could either be incorporated with these or done separately.  

For K-2:

For Upper Elementary School:
For Middle School:

Click HERE for a link to download these rubrics (and read more clearly than the images included here), as well as some great additional information about 21st Century Skills, Common Core Standards and the connection to all content areas.  You can also click HERE to access the downloaded rubrics in Google Drive.  I hope you find these useful !