Friday, January 29, 2010

Finds of the Week: January 25-29, 2010

Every week, I will be posting at least one post with my top "Finds of the Week." These could be websites for use in your classroom that have been passed on through my Professional Learning Network (PLN), submitted by fellow teachers at school, or found at a conference. There might be articles with a best practice or suggestions for things that work to help raise the level of thinking in your classrooms.

1. Algebra Lab - This is a site for the math people. This link will take you to a collection of sample math problems for both you and your students to use. It allows for students to try out problems of various skill levels. If you click on "Absolute Value," you will notice it gives sample problems at both the Algebra I and Algebra II level. Provide a direct link for your students to go and practice. When completed, some of the problem sets will even get some feedback.

Beyond the sample problems, you will also notice that there are connections to lessons for the topics, as well as a breakdown of careers that use math and word problems that could be transformed into open ended questions.

Areas of use: Math, science

2. Trebuchet Challenge - This is an interactive web applet that allows for some trial and error in an exploration of how a trebuchet works. Students can apply what they know about projectile motion, potential energy, kinetic energy, and gravity to adjust the distance, power, and accuracy of a trebuchet. Points are tallied on the activity. Have students take and submit a screenshot of their best scores as a competition.

Areas of use: Science, math, world history

3. Penn Manor Blog Site - Have you thought about using blogging in your classroom? Take a look at how Penn Manor High School in Millersville, PA is using blogging with their students to get them to increase their critical thinking and writing skills. There are many blogging platforms out there for use. Penn Manor hosts their own using WordPress. This blog is hosted through Google's blogging service Blogger. If you are thinking of using blogging, set up a meeting with me and we can discuss options.

Areas of use: Writing across the curriculum

4. White House Speeches on iTunes - While it is true that the White House has its own YouTube channel, it is difficult for schools to easily get to the channel, depending on filtering protocols from district to district. In our school, YouTube is blocked. There are still other ways to obtain the videos from YouTube, but I don't see any way that's as easy as going to iTunes and either showing a given speech, subscribing to the feed, or just downloading particular speeches. The 2010 State of the Union address is up. So is President Obama's Inaugural Speech. What better way to get your students more connected to politics?

Areas of use: Social Studies, speech

5. Noteflight - Here's a great one for the music theory classes, or even for anyone who would like to try their hand at writing some music. It takes a little bit of working with to get down how the interface works, but once you get it down, you can be writing your own sheet music (and hearing it!) in minutes!

Areas of use: Music

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is This?

Here at Annville-Cleona, we have always prided ourselves on being forward-thinking and willing to try out new things. When Classrooms for the Future first rolled out, we decided to enter the grant. As part of this, there has been an incredible amount of training that has been provided and lots of new technology available to our teachers.

There was also a new position that came as part of the grant, the instructional technology coach. Being the coach here at A-C has been great, but it has been difficult to get information out to those who need it.

A newsletter would not have the capability to share links easily, and some links would be very long to retype into your browser. Even using Copy+Paste becomes tedious after a while. Here in this blog, I will be able to link directly to the site I am referring to and all you will have to do is click on it.

I have tried emails, but they often get lost in inboxes (I myself have thousands of unread emails, many from vendors that I converse with during conferences and workshops). Why not have a place that can be accessed anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection (even on your cell phone or iPod Touch).

It is with great anticipation that I begin this blog, knowing that similar ventures have worked great in other districts with their coaches. This should also help me to better manage what time I do have for my intructional coaching job, and also hopefully allow for others to guest post when they have things to share. (If you have things you want to share, let me know and we'll get you set up as a guest blogger!)

Tomorrow, there will be a new post with great websites and other information to help you better integrate technology into your classroom and into your everyday life. It might even get to a point where I complete shorter posts as soon as I get a site or activity worth sharing (after I have had time to check it out, of course, so that I can actually offer some possibilities for use for you).

I am looking forward to this new way of sharing and hope that it offers up new possbilities for you and your students. As always, I am available during periods 1, 4, 6, 7, and 9 (as well as middle school's period 5) and after school. Contact me ahead of time to schedule a meeting so we can discuss, train, and integrate!