Make the next 3 weeks brighter
I just received my TCEA TechNotes this morning and they provided a list of great educational holiday websites for your students. Yesterday, I was in the computer lab with the kindergarten classes from Baxter Elementary and they were working on and having a blast. The resources listed range from kindergarten through high school so check them out and make your next three weeks a little more merry. I know your students will enjoy them and you just might too.

Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise Discover what makes a snowman melt with your 9-12th grade students
A Christmas Carol Explore with students in grades 7-12 as they write a play about the story.
Beyond the Story: A Dickens of a Party lesson plan
A Christmas Carol as performed by the Guinea Pig Theater
Spotlight on the Gift of Holiday Traditions
Celebrate the Winter Holidays
Games from the North Pole **Really cute activities for k-3rd grade
My Family Traditions: A Class Book and a Potluck Lunch lesson plan
Make-a-Flake online snowflake creator
Let's Build a Snowman lesson plan
Using Snowflake Bentley as a Framing Text for Multi-genre Writing lesson plan
Teaching Themes - Christmas
Christmas LiveBinder of resources
Virtual Gingerbread Cookie Decorator
Culture Goggles: Same Holy Land, Different Holidays lesson plan
Official NORAD Santa Tracker
Christmas in Yellowstone

Kwanzaa for Young Students
Kwanzaa activities
Hanukkah lesson plans
Online Interactive World Advent Calendar 2010
More Online Advent Calendars
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I haven't had an opportunity to do much blogging lately. Between the Thanksgiving holiday and jury duty, I have been out of pocket. I decided over the break last week that every Monday, I am going to post a YouTube video of the week. One teacher recently told me that providing teachers with override options for YouTube was the most valuable thing our district did for enriching her content delivery. I would encourage everyone to post links to favorite videos so you can share with others especially since this is such a new option for many teachers. Most of the time I will feature a link to multiple videos compiled on a channel, but then, it could just be a single video covering one concept.  

I have been doing some work with the 5th grade teachers at Baxter Elementary planning for their upcoming WWII unit of study. Surviving the Holocaust provided some compelling video links on YouTube that cover many perspectives of horrific component to the war. Check them out. And don't forget to post some links to your favorites!
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Yesterday I heard a presentation by librarian extraordinaire, Joyce Valenza. You can check out her website or her blog to get the latest scoop on cutting edge tools for learning.  She presented a myriad of ideas for research, monitoring your digital footprint or Internet safety, copyright and fair use policies, as well as how to manage these topics in today's world. The art of digital storytelling was another topic she covered and posted several good resources to check out before beginning a project. She briefly discussed the used of cell phones as tools for learning. They are currently working on developing their policies for that. Interestingly, she closed out her session talking about the importance of giving students the tools of their time to use for learning...a pretty profound statement, and so true.

Check out her slide presentation from yesterday posted on Slideshare:
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Tween Tribune is an online newspaper geared towards the upper elementary student. There is a second version, Teen Tribune, for the secondary student. This is a very slick, highly engaging version of the typical news venue. The articles are current and reflect the interests of their target audience. It could provide teachers with great resources for current event activities, journaling topics, or cultural project data; the possibilities are endless and really could be used in all subject areas. It provides opportunities to post comments on various articles as well. It is a free registration. This site is worth a peek so check it out!
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I am sure math and science teachers have to answer that question quite a lot. The next time you get that question posed to you, just whip out the following video; it is quite interesting! Another option for using this video would be as a bell ringer. Have them watch and list all of the math and science concepts the captain is using to ensure the ship doesn't take the bridge out as it passes underneath. I am certain everyone aboard that ship is glad this captain paid attention in his math and science classes! Check this out.
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I have been talking a lot at school lately about Project-based learning. I really think another name for this should be problem-based learning. This type of lesson design centers on a group of real world questions or an authentic problem the students must solve. It is standards-based and allows students to acquire knowledge in an authentic learning environment. It affords them the opportunity to see how they will use their learning in the real world. When you observe and talk to students who are learning in this type of environment, you will find them engaged and they will talk about how excited they are regarding the information they are gaining. To gain a better understanding of this type of learning, check out Edutopia. They have quite a few resources and some great videos detailing this learning environment in action. The videos detailing the projects say it all. I've provided some links to PBLs that have already been developed. Click here to access customizable project checklists.
Project-Based Learning Resources:
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Adobe just released a new app called Project Rome. They have created an education version that you can download here. It is free to download right now, so I would take advantage of the offer. This tool has so many functions. You can create a variety of documents to communicate your ideas in a most effective and engaging way. Below is a video that gives an overview of this tool's capabilities. There are so many functions all rolled into one application! Project ROME has video overviews for specific tasks, tutorials for example projects, a support forum, and a growing help and documentation section. There is a specific emphasis on K-12 education, including a separate educator discussion forum. There also are possibilities for educators to integrate the tool with Google Apps for Education.

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I just received my Technotes newsletter and as always, they posted some great links to check out. Some of these sites I have already blogged about, but others I haven't so I am excited to check them out as well. So look to see if you find something new and explore. Come back and leave a comment about your exploration. I'd love to hear what you found.

Check out these websites:
Chartle - easily create and share charts.
Readability - a simple tool that makes reading on the web more enjoyable by removing the clutter and ads around what you're reading.

Stop Forwarding - allows you to politely and anonymously ask your friends and family to stop forwarding silly jokes, contests, and other spam to you.

Timetoast Timelines - easily create and share timelines over the web.

Vark - type in your question and it is relayed to the collective group for answers.

Aviary - Edit images, create mind-blowing effects, design logos, find colors, collaborate, and more.

Do Ink - create animations and download them to us anywhere.

Compare My Docs - Compare two documents to see the differences quickly and easily.

Edistorm - a web tool that bridges the gap between taking notes and making mind maps.

Draw Function Graphs - if you need a great math graph drawn, this website will do it for you.

Museum Box - tools for teachers and students to build up a description of a person, place, or historical event by placing items in a virtual box.

Penzu - create an online diary and share it with others or keep it private.

Wordia - create your own videos of different vocabulary words or view the videos of others.

Down for Everyone or Just Me? - a great site for IT folks. If you think the Internet is down, just type in the URL you're trying to get to and find out if the problem is on your side or for everyone.
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I came across a blog, Tech the Plunge, that listed hundreds of resources, ideas, and videos for Ed Tech included a list of 60 educational games sites from a post on the blog, Tech Happy. I felt like I had hit the mother lode and kept bouncing back and forth between these two blogs. I began to compile a list of some of the sites, not nearly all that I saw, but some I thought I would share. Check them out...there is bound to be something of interest. By the way, Kim Bull, a second grade teacher told me that Scholastic is sponsoring a virtual field trip to Plimoth Plantation, but you have to sign up; click here for the link. These opportunities really enrich the curriculum and provide engaging activities students will remember forever.

Math:   (higher level)

Science: (elementary earth science)

History/Geography: (Personal favorite history site!) (uses Google Earth)


Problem Solving Skills:

Various Subject Areas:

PowerPoint Games:

Additional Resources:
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I had a 5th grade teacher, Jennifer Campbell, ask about Veteran's Day resources last week so I thought I would post a list of resources to use as you begin to prepare for that day; it's next week! Teaching our students to remember and value those who have sacrificed and even lost their lives so that we might live is a rewarding opportunity as a teacher. I had a video I created several years ago that I played at our Veteran's Day assembly and after that, students always wanted me to show them the video, even after I had forgotten about it. Below is another video I found on YouTube that someone posted. There are many there for the choosing. By going to KeepVid, you can download the videos to your computer and keep them for the future. Take this opportunity to make it memorable for our students. Don't forget, you can use sites like Voki, Glogster, Vuvox, ShowBeyond, or Animoto as great student products for Veteran's Day projects.
Lesson Resources:
Department of Veteran's Affairs
Education World
Apples for the Teacher
Hot Chalk
Teacher Planet
Thank Our Troops through the USO

Graphics Resources:
Veteran's Day Clipart
Veteran's Day Clipart
Library of Congress
Wikipedia Public Domain Images
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