Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twenty-first Century Skills (continued)

"I can guarantee that the job I hire someone to do will change or may not exist in the future, so this is why adaptability and learning skills are more important than technical skills." (Clay Parker of the manufacturer BOC Edwards quoted in Tony Wagner's Global Achievement Gap, 2008, p30).

As a technology specialist, I may see the world a little differently than other educators who have taught as long as I have (30+ years) because most of them are looking to retire. I am looking for the new tool or best practice that will optimize learning for each student I come in contact with. Our job as teachers is to facilitate learning with 21st century tools.

When I was in 4th grade at the University of Memphis "Campus School." There was a big debate among our teachers, parents, and administrators about what type of ink pen we should bring to school. REALLY! We were learning cursive with the traditional ink cartridge fountain pens. (actually, some student brought bottles of ink and pens that sucked up the ink, instead of cartridges!) Some folks thought we should move to the new "Bic" pens because they were less expensive, but our ancient teacher thought we would not learn properly with those newfangled pens. We needed to use the traditional fountain pen to establish proper penmanship habits like "how to hold then nib at the proper angle." YES, I am not making that up.

Isn't that a parallel to some of the debates today? Textbook versus digital content. Teacher as the center or on the side.

Ultimately it's not about learning technology, but learning to learn with technology. The tools you choose are less important than what students are doing with them. Yes, we skill need to teach keyboarding and word processing, but students need them in the context of learning content. They need a reason for learning.

We should spend a limited amount of time teaching kids tools, and much more
time trying to figure out how to use technologies to foster 21st century
competencies in our students. In professional development teachers always want a "handout." In the classroom, today the 21st studentswant us to give them the tools or the website and the goal of the finished product, then move out of their way.

Look at this comparison chart of the 20th century classroom versus the 21st century classroom.
The focus should be on the learning, not on the tools.

So the essential question...
What traits or skills do I need as an educator to meet the needs of the 21st century learner?
As an educator, I need
  • Content Knowledge
  • Strong classroom management
  • Sound instructional practices
  • Personal technology skills
Mixed with:
  • Patience
  • Curiosity/Zest for learning
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Flexibility
  • Maintenance of current ed tech trends and student use of technology
  • Willingness to develop, share, collaborate within a Professional Learning Network

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

  • free time lapse photography software for a while now and finally found Perios. Perios is a tiny download and very, very simple to use.

    For my first movie I set the software to record one frame every five seconds but I feel I need to continue experimenting for improved results. Once the software captures all the still pics you have to export them as a movie file. I then added all the credits and music in Movie Maker. Too easy!!!

    The only hassle I had with the software was trying to get it to work with a webcam. I eventually just stuck with the built in camera in my laptop.

    Possible Time Lapse Subjects

    - flower blooming / plant growth
    - spider spinning a web
    - tracking shadow movement throughout a day
    - artwork being made
    - a classic game of chess
    - the classroom working
    - lego construction
    - snail race
    - decomposing fruit
    - butterfly hatching
    - traffic outside your window for surveys
    - is the movement of the lunchtime crowd fractal?
    - fill up and ant farm and record tunnel creation
    - growing of crystals
    - your fish tank
    - clouds across the sky / storm coming

    tags: perios, timelapse, free

  • tags: creativecommons

  • tags: GoogleEarth, googletouring, google_earth, geography, maps

  • tags: 21st_century, web2.0, warlick, literacy

  • Flow is a motion painting machine for children of all ages. Visit the National Gallery of Art’s NGAkids ArtZone and enjoy watching the changing patterns and colors as you mix pictures on two overlapping layers. Choose designs from four sets of menu icons or add to the flow by clicking the pencil tool to create your own designs. An online movie shows how to make new icons and set your art in motion.

    tags: interactive creative art, interactive, recording, digitalstorytelling

  • “John and Abigail Adams” offers insights into the birth of American democracy, the American Revolution, life in the colonies, the Founders, the branches of government, lawmaking and politics. Learn about key people and events: John and Abigail, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Franklin, King George III, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, the Boston Massacre, the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congresses, the Presidency and Vice Presidency, the Alien and Sedition Acts and more.

    tags: johnadams, abigailadams, biographies

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

  • Ghost Blasters is designed to help students learn to multiply and divide quickly in their heads. To play Ghost Blasters select a multiple of which each "bad" ghost will have a value that is a multiple of that which you chose. Students then use their mouse to blast every "bad" ghost. For example, if I select "5" at the beginning then all bad ghosts will display a multiple of 5. I then have to blast all of the bad ghosts to gain points, but if I blast a "good" ghost (a ghost that does not have a multiple of 5) I lose points.

    tags: Maths_Games, multiplication, practice

  • tags: mixbook, digitalstorytelling

  • tags: storytelling, legends, digitalstorytelling, myths

  • ABCya! is a leader in free & exciting computer activities for elementary students to learn on the web. All educational computer games and activities were created or approved by certified teachers! Activities are modeled from primary grade lessons and enhanced to provide an interactive way to learn. The activities incorporate content areas such as math and reading while introducing basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade games are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. You can also find great elementary holiday activities here! Holiday activities available in grade level sections!

    tags: interactive, 4thgrade, 5thgrade, abcya, 3rdgrade, 2ndgrade, earlylearners

  • tags: twitter

  • Teacher accounts

    tags: kerproof, teacherresources, 21stCenturySkills

  • Resize Image is a simple web-based tool for resizing images. You do not have to create an account or provide any type of information in order to use Resize Image. Simply upload an image, select the size that you would like it to be, click "save changes" and Resize Image does the rest. Once your image is resized you have the option of downloading it to your computer, cropping it, or resizing it again. Resize Image accepts JPEG and PNG files. The service is quick even with very large, high definition images.

    Applications for Education
    Resize Image is a fast, free tool for students to use to resize images for inclusion in digital presentations. The user interface is simple and straight forward enough that elementary school students can learn to use it quickly.

    tags: no_tag

  • tags: declaration, independence

  • great online tool that students can use to create posters and videos. The National Archives Digital Vault poster and video creation tools allow students to drag and drop digital artifacts into a poster or video. The National Archives provides images, documents, and audio in an easy to use editor. When making a poster students can combine multiple images, change background colors, and create captions to make collages of digital artifacts.

    tags: socialstudies, resources, digitalimages, libraryofcongress

  • Eventbrite helps businesses and organizations of all sizes manage, promote and sell-out their events.

    tags: events, tickets, eventbrite, event, registration

  • tags: interactive_games, writing

  • myst

    tags: prezi

  • an online tool which lets you make presentations in a completely different way. Rather than having sets of slides, all of the information in your presentation can be placed on a single space (see the image below). The objects (including text / images / video) can be moved, rotated and resized, and then paths can be drawn between them to guide the presentation in the order that you choose.

    tags: presentation, animation, prezi

  • beginner tips

    tags: twitter

  • Online event registration
    online ticketing
    is easy now! offers convenient
    online event registration service
    online ticketing solutions
    to organize, create and manage your events, meetings, seminars, conferences, classes, fairs, exhibitions, shows, etc. FREE Event Signup and
    Event Registration
    ! Register your event today!

    tags: event, web2.0, eventsbot, events, scheduling

  • you can easily create a collaborative workspace with sticky notes, pictures, calendar items and documents and no login required!
    Upload your work, add comments, share files, and more. Invite your co-workers and start collaborating.

    tags: collaboration, web2.0, sharing, tools, filesharing

  • Website for movie FireProof

    tags: fireproof

  • Tel.A.Vision. It is a really unique site where students are
    encouraged to create their own "vision video" using Tel.A.Vision's
    great online editing program.

    Take a look! There is curriculum for teachers to encourage the kids
    to plan their vision, storyboard and video. There are tutorials for
    each step of the process and I think it is an excellent site!

    Would love to know if anyone else is using this site and share any
    projects that you might have done or will do! The PR company that is advertising this site are parents in my district so they'd love any
    feedback you have too!

    tags: digitalstorytelling

  • Copyright free image search on Flickr

    tags: clipart, copyrightfree

  • a new online game which perhaps could be used for middle school math or enrichment with 5th grade? It was recommended by a good source. You might have a good math student look at it on a home computer and tell you what they think.

    tags: game, labyrinth, math

  • Planet Earth questions

    tags: planetearth

  • user involvement and creativity, but it also adds an important dimension to the mix - storytelling.

    tags: earlylearners, kjarrett

  • tags: SMARTBOARD, literacy, phonics, LanguageArts

  • tags: facebook

  • tags: facebook, socialnetworking

  • tags: facebook, socialnetworking

  • tags: lincoln

  • Find Geography is a simple map game that you could have a classroom full of students playing after just a minute of instruction. Find Geography asks students "Where is country _______?" Students simply click on the map where they think that country is located. If students give a wrong answer, Find Geography shows them the correct answer.

    tags: geography, socialstudies, game, countries

  • Come along with Yertle the Turtle as he helps the younger crowd learn numbers with an interactive counting game and several printable math pages. Examples of the activities include counting, number sense, addition, and more

    tags: seuss, whiteboard, SMARTboard, math

  • t this colorful site, Lorax teaches simple science with two interactive games (one about classification and the other about “Earth Day”). There is also a printable science page.

    tags: seuss, earlylearners, whiteboard, SMARTboard

  • Come along with "Sam I Am" as he reasons rather reasonably with interactive challenges and printables. Some of the topics include finding differences, sequential order, concentration activities, and more. Be aware: at the time of this review, the “Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!” activity was “under construction.” To fully use this site it requires Flash, Shockwave, and Adobe Acrobat. All three can be downloaded here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

    In the Classroom:
    Make sure you mark this site as a favorite for easy access in late February and early March when you will want to include these activities in your Dr. Seuss unit in honor of Read Across America Day. Be sure to include this website on your class newsletter or on your class website so students can access this site at home.

    Use this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector, then have students explore on individual computers. This is a great "indoor recess" option!

    tags: seuss, recess, smartboard, whiteboard

  • This website provides free PowerPoint presentations on various topics relating to library use and research skills. Some of the specific topics include Marc Brown, Dr. Seuss, dictionary definitions, Dewey decimal system, tall tales, and others. You may need PowerPoint software on your computer to view these files, depending upon how the site creators saved them.

    tags: library, seuss

  • Well, why not? Here's an Earth Day game for primary students who are Seuss-aphiles. Students can catch seeds and plant trees in the Lorax's field. It's mostly for fun, but there's a message for the very young in this game. This site requires Flash.

    tags: seuss, earthday, lorax

  • andom House's Dr. Seuss site offers a nice little collection simple reading activities for primary students who need a little practice, or for other general uses. There are three printable activities and one interactive challenge. Topics include the alphabet, rhyming, and other literacy concepts. This site requires Adobe Acrobat and Shockwave. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

    In the Classroom:
    Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share the interactive alphabet challenge. Use the printable for homework pages or laminate some and create a learning center (don't forget the dry erase markers). Make sure you mark this site as a favorite for easy access in in late February and early March when you will want to include these activities in your Dr. Seuss unit in honor of Read Across America Day. Be sure to include this website on your class newsletter or on your class website so students can access this site at home.

    tags: seuss

  • This gallery of World War II-era cartoons by Theodor Geisel, reveal the acerbic wit and political philosophy of the beloved children’s author. The site also features audio and video clips from Dr. Seuss on his career and a brief history of political cartooning. Two lesson plans - focusing on the American themes and social messages addressed by Geisel - are available for downloading (and include McRel standards). This site requires RealPlayer, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat. You can get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

    In the Classroom:
    Have students research the history of political cartooning with Theodor Geisel (or others). Have cooperative learning groups create multi-media presentations such as a PowerPoint, or an online book, using a tool such as Tikatok reviewed here to share on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

    Share the video/audio clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Take advantage of the FREE lesson plans that connect geography, history, reading, and writing.

    tags: seuss

  • Older students celebrating Reading Across America week and any just-plain Seuss fans will enjoy these parodies collected as a plain vanilla web site. Note that this collection of links was created a while ago, so some links may no longer be active. Be sure to check out the ever popular Freud-on-Seuss, originally published in a college humor newspaper. Your literature students will appreciate these examples of parody. Gifted students and talented writers may even want to try their own hand after reading some. As always with humor, preview to be sure you are comfortable bringing these into the classroom.

    In the Classroom:
    Plan a parody activity during the celebration of Seuss. Students will certainly be familiar with the "originals," making it easier to teach the sophisticated analysis of what makes parody work. If you project these parody texts (copied into other software, such as Smart Notebook or Word) on an interactive whiteboard, students can annotate them and save/print the files.

    tags: seuss

  • Hubbard's Cupboard offers some very simple activities for Dr. Seuss classics. The site provides reading activities, math connections and art projects. The activities are user-friendly and are geared toward primary students.

    In the Classroom:
    Use the site as a guide for planning a traditional Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration Week in March!

    tags: seuss

  • verything about our beloved Dr. Seuss can be located here in Seussville. Simply click on the easy links to access his biography, books, games, activities, and more. For information about the Read Across America Day, in honor of Dr. Seuss, please click the Events link. Don't miss the "Playground" link: you will find “click and play games,” “print and play activities,” “Seussville story maker,” and “Suessville favorites.” (Note: If you find the whimsical Dr. Seuss music annoying while visiting the site, click on the on/off music button at the bottom of the home screen.

    tags: seuss

  • Cat in Hat -Hat

    tags: seuss

  • our students become Dr. Seuss? Yes, they will when they choose characters, music, and background scenery to create your own Dr. Seuss stories. Your students will delight in pretending to be one of the famous characters from Dr. Seuss as they practice the art of Seuss-speak in their own stories. Whimsical music that is so very Dr. Seuss-like plays in the background as students read their versions of Seussville stories. Flash is required for this site. You can get it from TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

    In the Classroom:
    This is a powerful way to reinforce concepts of story mapping by creating students' own stories. Pair-up students with online access to this site so that their stories can be shared with each other. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share stories created by the entire class. Be sure to provide this link in your class newsletter or on your class website for some at-home fun. This is a MUST for Read Across America day!

    tags: seuss, literacy

  • tags: twitter, barbarafeldman

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Twenty-first Century Skills

Yesterday, Friday the 13th was a great day for me! One teacher successfully finished and ,embedded her 1st VoiceThread in a school webpage! Another teacher finished editing her curriculum map by linking to current standards.I love helping other succeed! Also, the faculty came together in the afternoon for reports from the reaccreditation self-study. The term 21st Century skills was used often. Another teacher leaned towards me and whispered, "Shat exactly do they think the term 21st Century Skills includes?"

So I started on a quest...
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills describes four elements as a framework for
21st century student outcomes.

They are:
Mastery of Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes
Learning and Innovation Skills
Information Media and Technology Skills
Life and Career Skills

Well, this morning in my InBox, Lucy Gray had a reflection post that included the following list of her favorite links. Thank you Lucy for feeding me just what I needed to peruse and share. Enjoy spending time this holiday weekend catching up.

from Lucy for recommending the following resources for investigating the idea of 21st Century Skills:

1) The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner (Tony's website:

2) The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

3) 21st Century Literacies: Tools for Reading the World
4) 21st Century Learning

5) The Emergent 21st Century Teacher, Mark Treadwell
Thanks for great clipart to the right.

6) The Metiri Group: What's So Different About the 21st Century?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lure of the Labyrinth

Lure of the Labyrinth is a wonderful math instructional tool for prealgebra and algebra students. It is not drill and practice with a fun time out. The math is one of the most fun parts of the game. It is embedded in a strong story line that engages students in an eerie world where monsters want world domination at any cost.

The best thing I noticed is what is available on the For Educators tab! There is a Game Handbook, Lesson Plans, and videos with discussion of real teachers telling how they used it in their classroom. The links to standards are available there too!

In the tab "Math in each puzzle," there is a break down of 3 skill in each puzzle with a pdf linked to each one. (So even a non-math person can get up-to-speed.)

Thanks to my colleague Sue (still a math teacher, at heart) for guiding me to this great online math resource!

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Sheppard Software & More Lincoln

Adding to my previous posts about Sheppard Software and Lincoln....
Sheppard Software has done their homework (or can help your students' with theirs) on Presidents. Check it out! Here is the Lincoln one. This would be a great "jumping off" place for research and facts.
This "Fact of the Day" was not surprising, but some others are.
I hope the website authors will add our current President when they have more facts to write about him!

ANOTHER LINCOLN find**** Lincoln Images Has all the pictures of Lincoln you could ever want.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Google Earth 5

Later on in February I will be doing a workshop on Google Earth for Educators in the Memphis, TN area. I am excited that Google Earth 5 was just released this week. This is a major update!

From Google Newsletter for Educators:
Google Earth changed the way people everywhere access
the world's geographic information. Since then, we've added useful features
like 3D buildings, Street View, Sky in Google Earth, and countless
educational content layers. This week, we are thrilled to unveil three
exciting new features in Google Earth 5.0! With touring in Google Earth,
your students can record and play back their own tours, complete with
voiceovers! In addition, new historical imagery allows you to use a time
slider to explore local and global changes over the past few decades.
Finally, you can now dive to the deepest part of the sea with oceans in
Google Earth! Our newest release allows you to fly beneath the surface to
explore underwater canyons, see shipwrecks in 3D, and watch YouTube videos
submitted by oceanographers and aquatic experts. Check it out at!

Doodle 4 Google

From Google Educator Newsletter:

..we're excited to once again be hosting the Doodle 4 Google competition, where we invite K-12 students to play around with our homepage logo and see what new designs emerge. This year we're inviting U.S. kids to join in the doodling fun, around the intriguing theme "What I Wish for the World." As we mentioned, these are exciting times, and both our country and the world are on the brink of significant change. At Google we believe in thinking big, and dreaming big, and we can't think of anything more important than encouraging students to do the same. This year, we're honored to be partnering with the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum <> for the competition as we hope to encourage the next generation of designers and artists. Registration closes on *March 17, 2009* and entries are due by *March 31, 2009* *at 11:59pm Pacific time.* Teachers, you'll find everything you need to get started at the official website Only teachers or school employees should register. Parents or students who are interested should contact their teacher to register them.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sheppard Software: They make learning fun!

Sheppard Software's Kids Pages. What a treasure chest of interactive games! The categories go from geography to science to painting activities and the learning activities include quizzes and articles for students to read. There really is Treasure Chest of games to try here. Take a look - there may be an interactive game that will fit right into one of your learning units.

Legacy of Lincoln

Next week is the bicentennial of the birth of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. There are many resources for teachers available for Lincoln celebrations. First visit THE Lincoln Bicentennial Page and its teacher resources.

I love the idea over at "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" that is a great preservation campaign.

Speaking of pennies, the US Mint website has rich teacher resources for all ages about four the new pennies. C-Span had a plethora of resources to peruse over at its Lincoln 200 website.

Then view the exhibit at the National Gallery, The Mask of Lincoln.
PBS is on a roll with its Looking for Lincoln resources including a map of the location of all the Lincoln statues in the US AND an interactive timeline where students can put events in order.

Faithfully Larry Ferlazzo has posted in this "Best of..." series websites for President's Day.

If you want to get involved in an excellent telecollabrative project, there is still time to mosey on over to Jen Wagner's "Happy 200th, Mr. Lincoln!" project which I previously blogged about.
I even ran across a wiki collaboration between a school in Illinois and another in Florida, their Voicethread link (well done, kids) and the program planned for the IL school's assembly.

Arlington Heights School has a visually pleasing page titled "A Walk in Mr. Lincoln's Shoes" (ck out the Activities link at the bottom). Speaking of school hosted pages, this is a old faithful from 1st grade teacher Tammy Payton for resources on Lincoln.

Whew! that was a whirlwind tour of some things I have bookmarked. (and just think my husband wonders how I spend my time on my days off!)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Create Online Talking Storybook

LarryFerlazzo's blog brought me to The Tale Of Despereaux: Storybook Adventure. Larry says, "CREATE A TALKING STORYBOOK ADVENTURE: You can personalize your own talking storybook at The Tale Of Despereaux: Storybook Adventure. After you answer a few questions, the site creates a personalized virtual “pop-up” book and provides a link to it."

Even though this story is tied to adverstising the movie, the creative tale creates suspense about what will take place at each page turn. I'd love to see more of these online stories! With the subtitles turned on, reading literacy is supported. My students will enjoy the story, the games, the beautiful layout of the book. You almost can feel the pages as they gently turn. Having the ability to place themselves in the story by selecting what their character looks like will create ownership. Following along the story line and seeing their name in print will help develop fluency. The reader may choose to play several games offered to them as they go through the story. This beautiful virtual "pop-up" book would make a worthwhile independent classroom activity.