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Farmers, Eyeballing, Taxes…

https://remc11.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/www_bullet.jpgAgriculture is big business here in Michigan.  Check out the Harvest of History from The Farmers’ Museum and discover how farmers produce the food we eat everyday.

https://remc11.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/www_bullet.jpgWhile studying geometry, have your students play The Eyeballing Game.  Players adjust a line segment to bisect an angle, form a parallelogram, or several other tasks.  It only takes a few minutes and it’s a good way to see if your students understand basic geometric ideas.

https://remc11.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/www_bullet.jpgCurrent and historical photos can be found at LIFE – Your World in Pictures.

https://remc11.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/www_bullet.jpgTax Day is this Wednesday!  Share the pain with your students at the IRS’s Understanding Taxes site.  There are activities for students as well as lesson plans and resources for teachers.

https://remc11.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/www_bullet.jpgIt’s been a while since I talked about Google Docs.  It’s a tool that is getting better as it ages (just like people).  They just added a new feature:  inserting drawings.  Now students and teachers can use Google Docs as an online diagramming tool as well.


Chem Is Try…

Weekly Web Wonders

Tiny, Bitesize, and Teen Writing…

Weekly Web Wonders

Happy New Year! I suspect that you’re all a little fuzzy-headed this morning after not having to get up so early for two weeks. Once the fog clears, check out these great sites and resources.

  • Keep your eyes open for our Spring 2008 Tech Integration Workshops flyer…it should be making it’s way around this week. You can also see it online as a PDF or visit BCISD’s Professional Development Catalog.
  • Google and Writing for Teens have partnered together to help teach writing with Teach Collaborative Revision with Google Docs. Resources included are tutorials, articles, and a teaching guide.
  • The American Chemical Society has launched Bytesize Science, an educational, entertaining podcast for young listeners. There are already 12 episodes that can help instruct, spark discussion, and spark interest in science.
  • tinygraphs.pngAnyone who uses numbers of any type will like TinyGraphs. It’s a little Excel add-in (FREE, of course) that automatically graphs a row of data and puts it in a single cell. It’s hard to describe, but once you see a picture you’ll recognize its potential. Here’s a quick snapshot, but visit the site for more.
  • Are you looking for more materials for your advanced high school students? Check out MIT OpenCourseWare, a free publication of course materials used at MIT. Get lecture notes, problem sets, labs, lecture videos and demonstrations. Tons of stuff here!

(Another) Google Presentations Post

googlepresentation.pngThe online world has been all abuzz with the announcement that Google Docs now includes the ability to create, edit, and share Presentations. I found out the news while reading the Webware blog, which by the way is great for keeping up on Web 2.0 apps, and they weren’t as impressed with it as others will be.

PowerPoint-style presentations have two major objectives. Those are to inform the people to whom you are presenting and to hold their attention. I would personally not feel great about using Google Presentations on an important presentation, where I need to impress people. The presentations that it creates just do not have the “wow” factor.

I’d like to contend that of these two objectives of a PP-style presentation, only one can be achieved successfully: informing the people. Basically, if you are giving a presentation and depending on the software to “hold their attention” then you’ll fail almost every time. The “wow” should come from both the content as well as the presenter. PowerPoint has become so common that there’s not much wow left…how many times will zooming, flipping, or blinking text enamor the audience?

Google Presentations will be a powerful classroom tool because it allows authors (students) to focus on the content created collaboratively by many. Multiple authors working together can develop content that is both accurate and engaging, hopefully leaving their teachers with a “Wow!”

Weekly Web Wonders SE


Yes, it’s the Special Google Edition of Weekly Web Wonders. Google is the source of such a plethora of great free tools that they are hard to ignore. Check these out! Keep in mind is that you have to have a Google Account to access some of these tools, but it’s free and easy to do.

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Not only can these tools create and edit documents online, making them available everywhere, but they also allow many people to edit them at the same
time. They’re incredible collaboration tools! Keep your heads up for online Presentations. (Google Account needed) Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Google Calendar

googlecal.jpgI’m going to make the assumption that there are events happening in your classroom, building, and district…I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Use Google Calendar to share assignments, due dates, activities, summary of the day’s events, or whatever with students and, just an importantly, their parents. You’ll be loved! (Google Account needed)

Google Notebook

Both you and your students could benefit from this tool. Google Notebook allows you to clip and save text and images from the web and organize them into notebooks. This is great for research because Google Notebook keeps track of the web addresses from which you save content. (Google Account needed)

Google Earth

Most of you probably know about Google Earth. It’s a continually evolving product…check out these new
features and important resources.

  • Explore the stars within Google Earth with its new Sky feature. Zoom to distant nebulae, view constellations, explore the universe! Very cool.
  • Fly around the world in the new Flight Simulator mode.
  • Like GE but don’t know what to do with it? Check out these Educational Uses for Literature, Science, History, and Geography.
  • Predict the weather (you’ll probably do as well as the TV folks) with the Best Storm Tracking and Weather Tools.

Google Scholar

If you have your students perform research using scholarly journals etc., then take advantage or Google Scholar. It searches papers, abstracts and citations on diverse topics.

Google News Archive

Do what you’d think…search archives of newspapers and other publications for people or events. Google can arrange the results in a timeline to show when relevant events occurred through time. Nice! Google News Archive

Timeline View


You can create a timeline for any Google search. Just add view:timeline after any search terms. For example, Michigan history view:timeline.

Google Book Search

Google is in the process of digitizing the entire world…well, lots of books anyway, and you can search their text. Search entire books, especially classics, or view excerpts and other books related to your search. Google Book Search

My favorite stuff is getting better

I usually take July off…there’s not much going on around the ISD and most teachers are busy with other activities to want to come to any workshops. So, with one more day of work to go I’ve discovered that some of my favorite tools are adding features. I thought I’d better blog these down before the heat of July melts my memory.

Google EarthLet’s start with Google Earth…who doesn’t like zooming around the planet taking a look at your hometown or where you spent your last vacation? That’s cool, but there’s more to it than that. Adding placemarks with your own descriptions is interesting and fun, but can be a bit daunting to someone who’s wary of the term Keyhole Markup Language. So as part of the newly announced Google Earth Outreach program, video tutorials and starter templates are available for everyone to get a quick start in creating your own layers of information. Take a good look at them, they’re very good and easy to follow.

What else is new? Well, you can now add your images to Google Maps…images that you have uploaded to your Picasa Web Album. (In case you didn’t know, Picasa is Google’s free photo editing and sharing application. It’s very easy to use, I recommend it!) What a great way to document a class field trip or create an online tour of a city or famous location.

To keep up with what’s going on with Google Earth/Maps, check the Google Earth Blog.  This guy does his homework and quickly passes it on to the rest of us!

PBwikiNext topic: PBwiki.  The PBwiki team continues to add cool features to what I think is one of the most important tools for teachers.  Wikis are so quick and easy that every teacher should be using one to share content and develop a collaborative space for their classrooms.  The latest feature from PBwiki is the ability to embed spreadsheets directly into your wiki pages.

What’s cool about this feature is that the spreadsheets are live and editable.  So you go the page, add your data or information to the spreadsheet, and click the Save button.  Now it’s there for everyone, plus you can import Excel sheets. Sweet…

So many features!  By the time summer is over, some of these sites might do your dishes or mow the lawn!

Corn Maze Geography

This is going to be so cool…

Next fall we’re hosting a new workshop integrating Social Studies and Technology: Corn Maze Geography.

Corn MazeWhat’s that, you say? Well, it started out as Kelly Gaideski (BCISD Social Studies Consultant) and I were putting some ideas together for a workshop for using GPS receivers and Google Earth together to address Social Studies standards. While looking around the net I came across Corn Maze Geography: Teaching Geography Using Corn Mazes. How fun is that? If you’ve never been to a corn maze…it’s time to go, they’re a blast!

And so…on September 18 we’re going to be at Barbott Farms and Greenhouse in Stevensville from about noon to 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided and we’ll spend the afternoon playing around experiencing a variety of geography lessons as well as using GPS to navigate through the maze. The GPS units will be available to borrow from the ISD so participants will have a great opportunity to put them to good use.

More information to follow…mark your calendars!