Thursday, September 30, 2010

Martin Institute Presentations

Martin Institute Presentations:

Just got this email from Clif Mims, Director of the Martin Institute, where I am doing three presentations tomorrow.
"I wanted to make you aware that nearly all workshops and presentations during the Martin Institute Fall Conference will be streaming live to the Internet at  The theme is Teaching for Tomorrow, and the keynotes, workshops, and activities will focus on promoting 21st century skills."
~~Enjoy either tonight or tomorrow!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Free History Poster

Go to: Free History Poster
I just saw this!
Get ‘em while they last!
George Mason University offers a free historical thinking poster to social studies educators, but act fast – there’s a limited number.

"Are you a K-12 U.S. history or social studies teacher, librarian, or teacher educator? Looking for ways to promote thoughtful, critical reading of primary and secondary sources in the classroom? now offers a poster to help you out!"

"Our double-sided color poster features definitions of primary and secondary sources and guides students through the process of historical inquiry. What questions should you ask when examining a primary source? Where should you look for reliable secondary sources? How do you use the evidence you've gathered to make an argument?"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Change the World

From another blog:
Change the World is a way to promote small change in order to make a difference.  Between NOW and November 25th, I will be donating a penny on the behalf of unique visitors to  It is "small change", but can (and hopefully will) add up!  The idea is simple and it is one that I hope will become contagious in our schools and with our students as well.  Little things matter and we can work together to make a difference and promote positive change. 

The money will be donated to a charity that site visitors, Twitter-folk, and Facebook friends decide on when they vote for the charity of their choice the week following November 25th.  There is no catch or gimmick.  This is a way for me to give back and hopefully inspire others to help me do the same.

Click here to watch a quick video explaining the whole concept.
Adam Bellow
Founder, eduTecher

We would love your help to spread the message in any way you can. If you have a blog or website you can grab the Change the World badge and embed it on your own blog or website.
Click here to grab the embed code for your site.

If you are on Twitter and/or Facebook make sure you tell your friends/followers to go to between NOW and November 25th to help make a difference.

I appreciate all your help in getting the work out there
and make a difference as we Change the World.

Change the World

Great Internet Safety Resource

Over on the side of the ISTE 2010 Convention Hall I found Internet Safety With Professor Garfield

It website was worth my paying my own flight to Denver!

This website offers an animated lesson on cyberbullying and an animated lesson about online safety. These lessons features our favorite ol' friend Garfield. Students watch a cartoon, take a quiz, then attempt to apply their knowledge to scenarios.

As you know, student should receive lessons about Internet safety. Here in Tennesse, Internet Safety lessons are required. Internet Safety With Professor Garfield provides a wonderful set of student lessons, and also Teachers can download a teaching guide and individual printable certificates of completion for their students.

There are more resources available through this website that will help with language arts and math skills.

This is a great resource for parents and teachers to use with their children.
Enjoy and use it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Parent Place

from FCC blog post @

Today we launched our new Parents’ Place webpage filled with resources and information about television, electronic media and online safety. We also link to other sites with great information for parents.  For just one example, click on the link to Net Cetera for practical tips for talking to your children about being online.

We have three categories of online resources:

•    TV and Parental Controls – Learn about children’s television; how to use TV ratings, how to block objectionable programming, and how to report obscenity as well as indecency and profane language on broadcast television and radio.

•    Children’s Safety – Discover information about protecting your children online. Visit OnGuard Online, learn how to discourage your teen from distracted driving, learn about Amber Alerts, and more. 

•    Media and Childhood Obesity – This page includes fun links to with challenges to get kids moving and information on good nutrition.  You can also click on Sesame Workshop where you’ll find entertaining ways to teach young children about health and good nutrition.

Want to find television programs for your kids? Type in your zip code to find local broadcast instructional and educational programs in your area.  We also have a link to PBS - so you can find the local times of your child’s favorite PBS show.

We encourage parents to share their practical ideas and insights related to children and communications.  So the website provides a forum for parents and caregivers to share practical ideas about online safety, safe driving and blocking inappropriate content.  Let us know if there are other topics you would like us to add to the discussion list.

If you want to dig deeper, take a look at the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, especially the chapter on education.  And make sure to check out the video of Chairman Genachowski talking with Elmo about the importance of high-speed internet access.  Elmo wants the Internet to be fast, fast, fast!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Google Issues Family Safety Center

I got an email earlier this month about Google's resources in The Family Safety Center, According to Richard Byrnes it "introduces parents to and shows them how to use Google's safety tools including safe search, safe search lock, and YouTube's safety mode. Google has partnered with a number of child safety organizations to develop educational materials for dealing with topics like cyberbullying, strangers online, protecting personal information, and avoiding malware online. Finally, Google's Family Safety Center contains a collection of videos featuring Google employees sharing the strategies they use with their own kids for teaching online behavior and keeping their kids safe online."

 You can probably tell I am on a theme of finding good Internet Safety Resouces. I have a few more to share!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rethinking Student Motivation Free Download from the Authors of Disrupting Class

In Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, Michael Horn, Clayton Christensen and Curtis Johnson discuss how to transform the education system to customize learning for different student needs. They are publishing a revised and expanded edition which includes a new chapter on student motivation. To publicize the new book there is an adaptation of that new chapter for free from their website titled “Rethinking Student Motivation.”
The paper explores how educators can crack the code on motivating students—which is crucial for learning—through the lens of the famous “jobs to be done” concept that Christensen pioneered. The authors assert that schools—just like businesses that are trying to make critical connections with their customers—must seek to understand what “jobs” students are trying to accomplish in their lives and answer the question, “What job might they hire schools to do?” Their research shows that the two core “jobs” students set out to do each day are “feel successful” and “have fun with friends,” but schools often fail at integrating these core jobs into their operations. This chapter provides insight into how schools can change to enable students to do these jobs through project-based learning, computer-based learning, and other innovations.
To download the paper, click here. To learn more about the 2nd edition of Disrupting Class visit the Amazon page here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Constitution Resources

from email friend: Al
September 17 is Constitution Day. All public schools that get federal funds are required to have an exercise about the Constitution. That makes it a teachable moment for other schools as well as there is
going to be publicity starting this week about the event.

Here are some links to lessons and activities and free resources to help:

videos about the Constitution:

More Constitution Resources

from an email from an old "friend"

Constitution Day Lesson Plans

 National Constitution Day is coming up (September 17th). It can be challenging to come up with something for Constitution Day. For one thing, it kind of sneaks up on you right at the beginning of the school year when you are still getting classroom routines under way. This is why I am bringing it up a bit early here, so you have time to get prepared.
For another, lesson plans on the constitution tend to be (quite properly) serious lengthy things for older students, not the equivalent of making paper models of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria for Columbus Day. All educational institutions receiving federal funds are required to teach lessons on the constitution on National Constitution Day (Pub L 108-447), but that doesn't mean that your classroom will actually be studying the constitution at that time, or that it would fit into your curriculum to do so. Accordingly, I'm going to offer you some links to brief lessons that you can jigsaw in on the 17th, and hark back to when it is appropriate.
  • Here is EdHelper's collection of Constitution Day printables,including a coloring page, word search, reading passages, reader's theater, and more.
  • Here is a collection of PDF lessons and audio files from the Center for Civic Education. These range from a story about the value of rules for kindergarteners to a critical thinking lesson for high school seniors.
  • Here is a collection of PDF lessons and online stuff designed for Constitution Day. Get your technology requirements crossed off with the "online module," or check out this page for ideas on using a "constitution cube" with diverse learning modalities. For middle school and up.
  • Here is a page with links to the text of the constitution and printable basics for K-12. This site has coloring pages, math word problems about the Electoral College, and some ideas for ways to analyze the constitution for interesting language points, among many other things.
  • Here is NARA's Constitution Day collection, including a simulation and a number of interesting activities to do with documents.
Read a book!
  • We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States by David Catrow is an excellent choice, probably the best introduction to the constitution for young children. Read the book aloud along with a discussion about rules and the usefulness of having someone in charge or having agreements about behavior. This is a great time to review the classroom rules.
  • Shh! We're Writing the Constitution is as terrific as Jean Fritz's books always are. This book is comfortable for upper elementary, and a good read-aloud for grade 3.
  • Peter Spier's We, the People is a lovely wordless book full of detail. We like to put this book in a center for free exploration by the youngest students, and to ask older kids to write text for each page.CD_1831
If you can work a thorough study of the constitution into your September lesson plans, Understanding the U.S. Constitution Book for Grades 5-8 + by Carson Dellosa from Carson- Dellosa is a good one to use. It has reading passages and comprehension questions, writing assignments, and a test, thus limiting your prep time and giving your class opportunities to practice reading, writing, and test-taking skills.
tcr0582TCR's U.S. Constitution Thematic Unit is another excellent choice for elementary school classrooms. Here is a sample from the book in PDF format.
If you don't already have a copy, you might like poster of the constitution for your classroom.
Finally, here are the words to Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a Bill," because that is one of the most frequent requests for Constitution Day. Dave Frishberg certainly had a hit on his hands with that one. Here is the whole script, and a link to a YouTube video of it. Here is a lesson plan to use with it.

These are awesome resources from a blogger, I used to follow when I was at a different School.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Constitution Resources from Thinkfinity

Constitution Day is September 17, 2010, and schools across the nation are preparing activities in anticipation of the important day. To help you prepare, Thinkfinity offers lesson plans, activities, educational games and so much more. You will find lessons that cover the Constitutional Convention, the First Amendment and even Constitution Costs. You can even include an interactive, such as Charting the Constitution. These are just a few of the many educational resources available on Thinkfinity about Constitution Day.

Great Resource on a Great Topic from a Great Company!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Download of ebook on Online Safety Issues

Help teens ‘own their space’ online. Whether you are a parent, caregiver, or educator, you can keep up with the latest computer and online safety issues and help kids learn to avoid them. In partnership with security expert and author, Linda McCarthy, we offer a free downloadable version of her new book, “Own Your Space – Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online.” Written for computer and Internet savvy “tweens” and teens specifically, this book is also a useful resource for the adults they rely on. you may download the entire book or just one chapter at a time. Great resource for digital citizenship lessons at home or school.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blog, Wiki, Docs?

Richard Byrne posted this article on his blog.
This is a great explanation of each type of web document.  There are some great examples at the bottom of the chart (Google Spreadsheet).
Here is a direct link to the chart:

Sorry for the short post: It is my birthday. This Link is REALLY a good one, though!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Know a New Middle School Teacher?

My neice has moved from 4th Grade to Middle School Language Arts. Even though she is an experienced teacher, moving to a new grade/subject/school is a bit overwhelming.
Here is a post in her honor:

Our Special Resources for New Teachers
We continue to add new resources to our special page for teachers who are just beginning their classroom careers. Among recent additions: Links to Teacher Magazine's Teaching Secrets series; ideas for new math and science teachers; and real-life videos from a U.K. series
for novices. Check back often.
from Middle Web newsletter

Monday, September 6, 2010

Google Phone Calls


Phone calls from Gmail

Now you can call any phone right from within Gmail. Dialing a phone
number works just like a normal phone—just click “Call phone” at the
top of your chat list, and dial a number or enter a contact’s name. At
the moment, this feature is only for Gmail users in the U.S. Calls to
the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of 2010, and
calls to other countries will be billed at our very low rates.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

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

Friday, September 3, 2010

Free Researh Skills Guide

As we know, the Internet is a great place to find information on anything that sparks your curiosity. Likewise, the web is a great resource for students, but they need to know how to evaluate what they find and discern the good from the bad. That's where we come in as teachers. And to help us help our students, Microsoft offers us a free 37 page ebook titled Developing Critical Thinking Through Web Research Skills. The ebook presents strategies for teaching Internet search skills and strategies for evaluating information. The ebook also links to many additional resources for teaching web search strategies. There are strategies and resources appropriate for students from in early elementary grades through high school included in the ebook. As you might expect, the ebook is heavy on references to Bing and other Microsoft products, but overall it is a good resource worth your time to download and read.
Reposted from

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This summer I spoke at the Latptop Insitute at Lausanne Collegiate School down the road in Memphis, TN. There I met up with the folks behind WatchKnow and was very impressed! In fact, we ate dinner the night befor at the same table at the prestigious Peabody Hotel! The person behind the great resources is the amazing Larry Sanger.

Today I got an email update from Larry and WatchKnow. It included mentioning in this Resource Shelf blog:

"Finally, one more freebie that we love not only for the content it aggregates but also for its search. WatchKnow from Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia and founder of Citizendium) and many volunteers including librarians. 

Here you’ll find free educational videos from a number of sources plus added metadata that helps make the content more easily discovered and retrieved. Even a quick look at the homepage shows how easy it is to search and/or drill down into the growing collection. You’ll also see that using a slider you can narrow by age group. Links to other sources (like TeacherTube) are provided and limit to “school accessible” material that will remove results (just to be safe from YouTube and Google Video). To keep current with new videos as they’re being added we suggest subscribing to this RSS feed."

If you have not logged into Watch Know, do it now. It is a super great resource for teachers. Their videos are excellent and can be seen behind the "You Tube blocker."

Go there now! Register and upload your own videos!