Are you taking part in the Hour of Code? This world-wide event aims to expose as many students as possible writing computer code by participating in hour-long coding tutorials. TouchDevelop is another coding site jumping in to arena that was designed by researchers at Microsoft. Similar to an Hour of Code the site teaches students to code apps using TouchDevelop on any device. Students can make a robot dodge objects by following the directions in Jetpack Jumper, or create an app that makes "crazy" drawings with Scooter the Turtle. Other options include Jumping Bird or a Pixel Art tutorial. There is no experience necessary to learn to code on this site and there is plenty to keep even the fastest learners busy! This site will keep students engaged as they learn to write and modify code!
I received a lovely email from an after school homework group in California passing along a great link to add to our science resources page. The kids have been using the science page to help them with their homework. One young lady, Milana, shared this link to a site with wonderful links to sites on earth science. The is sponsored by Larson Jewelers. Thank you for the great link, Milana. I have added it to the page. Keep sending in the those links!
Recently USA Today conducted a poll to learn what the top ten most frequently used apps are in America. Check the list below to see if your favorite made the list:
Top 10 Most Frequently Used Apps
Now the article did not differentiate between age groups or genders but I still found the list a little surprising. I would have expected Google Search to be at the top of the list and Google Play to be further down. And I thought users did not like FB Messenger and yet there is in the top 10 being used by millions of people!
Personally the App I cannot live without is Pinterest and I would venture to say my over eight thousand followers probably feel the same way! Dropbox takes a close second. I access that app multiple times a day from my computer, my phone, my tablet, and at work. It is seriously my lifeline.
What apps are your favorites? Leave a comment and let me know what I should be trying next! :)
A follower from the University of Southern California shared a wonderful resource named the #Edchat Resource Guide. This Google Doc, created by USC Rossier's online EdD degree, is completely free and packed with useful information and articles about #Edchat and other Twitter eduation chats.
What is #edChat?
#EdChat is an ongoing Twitter conversation between educators. The conversation occurs every Tuesday night at 7PM EDT (there are alternate times for those in other time zones). To participate simply logon on to Twitter, search for the conversation #Edchat, and add the hashtag #Edchat to every tweet! There are hundreds of education chats that you can participate in as well. The guide, created by the University of Southern California, has all of the information you need. Hope to "see" you next Tuesday night on Twitter!
So we have finished the first five days in Downingtown School District and what a week it was! Teachers have so much do to at the beginning of the school year. Starting off on the right foot is essential to making sure the school year runs smoothly. I know that teachers appreciate ideas to help them get started and here are a few I found very useful. I hope your year is off to as a good a start as mine!
Back to School Planning Guide from Scholastic
1st Day Teaching Ideas
Teach-Nology Ideas for Starting the School Year
Middle School Nuts and Bolts for Starting the New Year
Critical First Week of High School from Scholastic
As the month of July, with its lazy days and sultry nights begins its retreat, August is looming on the calendar. It's time to start thinking of heading back to school. I begin this ritual the first week of August every year and secretly I rather enjoy getting back into the routine. I start each year with thinking. Before I drift off to sleep at night I imagine the first day of school in my mind and begin a mental list of what needs to be done to prepare. I imagine students sitting in desks and me teaching and begin a mental checklist of what needs to be done to get ready. This eventually translates into a physical list which leads to me pulling my computer out, brushing aside the travel brochures and allowing my creative juices to start flowing. Soon I'll head in to the building and start decorating my classroom, mapping out my school year, and creating lesson plans. It all happens quickly now that August is here and I need that time to prepare myself mentally.
Most teachers have similar routines I'm sure. There is something that triggers it each summer, whether it be the adds in the newspaper on TV for back-to-school sales, turning the page on the calendar, that first email from the office about the new school year, or seeing that cute skirt in the window that would be just perfect for the first day of school.
Whether you are just starting your career as a new teacher or are heading back to the classroom for your twenty-fifth year, being prepared is key. Here are some great ideas to help you get started!
Students today learn in ways we could never have imagined when we were children. Our students come to school expecting technology to be available and integrated into their day just as it is everywhere they go outside of school. Our kids use smartphones, computers and tablets from a very young age. They access the Internet, download and upload, edit and share photos, communicate and collaborate, and keep themselves entertained. They know the Internet is there 24 hours and day and they rely on the information it provides.
We have reached a point in education where, other than giving some instruction on how to run a piece of software, teaching kids how to use technology should no longer be our focus. Rather the goal is to teach them to be critical of what they read on the Internet, to learn to discern between what is valid from what is bunk. Further, we need to push them beyond simply accessing the Internet to search for facts and show them how to make connections to what they find and to make new meaning from what they have learned. Finally, we need to teach them how to ask questions and to take meaning and translate it into new innovations that will help to shape our world.
Are you ready to begin Integrating technology into your curriculum. Check out ten tools in the video below to help you get started!
I was recently contacted by a wonderful group of librarians and media specialists at EducatorLabs.org who volunteer their time to help make teaching just a little easier. Simply fill out a request form to let the group know just what you are teaching or searching for and they will compile a resource packet with lesson plans, links, graphics, and references to help you teach the best lessons possible. There is also an extensive and ever-growing data bank of resources catalogued by topic. The best news is that the site and the service is 100% free! If you have not yet stumbled across Educator Labs you need to check it out soon! It will be come one of those "go-to"resources you will find useful every day!