Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Next Vista

I am sitting here listening to Women of the Web 2.0 at 9:00 Tuesday night, something I seldom remember to do when I am at home. I caught it tonight live, though, and their guest has developed a wonderful new site where he is collecting really good videos. They are informative, short videos on many subjects. The site is called Next Vista For Learning . Take a look at all of the videos that are already listed and do sign up for the email list so that you will be able to be kept up to date on new videos. Rushton Hurley is the man behind this and he has established a non-profit organization that is running this website and through some funding backing, he has been able to keep this free and intends to do so in the future.
He was discussing about copyright-free music that he insists that anyone uses weho submits videos and passed along three ghreat websites that will supply free sounds and music, free of copyright problems. They are podsafeaudio.com, jamendo.com, and partnersinrhyme.com. When you are podcasting or want to create videos, powerpoints, or voice threads with music or sounds, look to these websites.
I am looking forward to doing a workshop for retired teachers at Kent State University tomorrow. They are going to be mentoring pre-service teachers and want to "catch up" on technology. I think that is really great that they are not just going to mentor them from where they left off, but are certainly looking to the future. Good for these retired teachers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gingerbread Man Project from Jenuine Tech

You all know how i feel about these wonderful online collaborative projects that are hosted by Jennifer Wagner. With very little work on your part, you can enhance so much of your curriculum and have your students become a part of a world-wide community of learners.

This is straight from Jen's project posting that I received tonight:

Hello Friends!!

Registration for the GingerBread Man project is now open at

This project can be hosted within your classroom anytime between now and
December 20th. Please have fun with it and make it work into your schedule.

If you would like to extend this project by perhaps collaborating and sharing
ideas with another classroom -- please join our ning at
http://projectsbyjen.ning.com and join the Gingerbread Man Project Group. You
can type in a message once you are there to indicate you would like to team up
with another classroom(s).

I hope you enjoy this project! I look forward to the many ways I hear how your
class works with the Gingerbread Man Project.

Give it a try and let me know how it went in your class!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Great Graph Maker and Free!

I have had two wonderful workshops with terrific participants today in Denver and yesterday in Dallas. If only I was not dependent on air travel to get me from one city to another, this would be a very stimulating type of life. There were so many people in these workshops who are doing some wonderful things already in their classrooms and computer labs and they have shared some websites with me that were totally new to me.

I will try to relate some of these to you in the next few blogs. The best Graph Maker for kids that I had used over the years was a piece of software from Tom Snyder Productions. It was costly on a district level, but served the purpose when there was nothing else to allow students to create graphs in order to collect and record data. Now there is a graph maker that is entirely free. It is Create a Graph from Kidzone

Students can select a design (type of graph), then enter their data and labels and print the graph. There is also a section called Dared to Compare that allows students to take tests and then compare how they did in a graph form other students from around the world.

The best thing is the tutorial on the first page of this website. It will walk you right through Create a Graph.

Monday, October 13, 2008

K12 Online Conference

Budget and time restraints certainly do infringe on the ability of classroom teachers attending many conferences throughout the school year. I want to make you aware of a wonderful opportunity which will come in the form of a virtual conference that you will be able to "tune in" to at any time. It will be held during the next three weeks, but every session will be recorded and available for you to listen to at your leisure.
This FREE conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone. The 2008 conference theme is “Amplifying Possibilities”. This year’s conference begins with a pre-conference keynote the week of October 13, 2008. The following two weeks, October 20-24 and October 27-31, forty presentations will be posted online to the conference blog, here, for participants to download and view. Live Events in the form of three “Fireside Chats” and a culminating “When Night Falls” event will be announced. Everyone is encouraged to participate in both live events during the conference as well as asynchronous conversations. More information about podcast channels and conference web feeds is available!

Some "teasers" about the upcoming sessions can be found here.

Here is the schedule for the K12 Online Conference . You will notice that the times are in GMT (Greenwich Time) but when you click on the date and time, there is a cool converter which will tell you what time the session is "live". Remember, you will be able to listen to a podcast and often watch a video of the session after it is over.

I encourage all of you to visit the schedule and choose one or two sessions that sound interesting to you.

I am about to start my 2008/2009 workshops. I will fly to Dallas tomorrow, then on to Denver, and then Phoenix. I really prefer these three day weeks.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

PBS Launches New Reading Site

PBS has launched a new website that really incorporates two sites, one for very early literacy skills and one with reading skills for the primary students. It looks very well done and even has a tracking system so that teachers can keep track of student progress and students can be awarded for their efforts. The two sites are PBS Kids Island and Raising Readers and can both be found at http://pbskids.org/read/ There are video tutorials.
On the Raising Readers site, I noticed that The Electric Company (feeling old?) is going to be launched on site during the winter of 2009.

I am sure that those with emerging readers in their classes will find lots of activities to use.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pumpkin Seed Project

One of the easiest online collaborative projects and one of the best way to cross all curriculum areas is Jen Wagner's Pumpkin Seed Project for 2008. I have many times written and at each workshop proclaimed the value of these online collaborative projects. I still would list all the reasons for participating as I have before, but one of Jen Wagner's blogs lately has given me a little more to think about when referring to these projects. There is more to these projects than simply collaboration. This is directly "lifted" from Jen's blog. but thought her words were really important:

"And what I realized is that my projects — yes, simplistic as they are — set a good foundation for teachers who are just learning some new ways of doing old things. For example: A Room With A View and The Shape of Things projects are primarily to help teachers learn to upload and tag images. Our Holiday Card Exchange project showcases Google Earth and helps teachers start learning how to use it within their classrooms. The O.R.E.O. project, The Pumpkin Seed Project, and the Lucky Charm project — all teach math skils in a fun way, but it also introduces teachers to online forms, creating webpages, and manipulating data in a spreadsheet."

Yes! It is so much more than just collaboration - but the value of 300 classes doing something in order to formulate a conclusion cannot be underestimated.

So, now Jen is ready to introduce The Pumpkin Seed Project, a project that will begin on Monday, October 6th. (make yourself a note, so you don't forget to sign on). Read all about the project at athttp://www.jenuinet ech.com/Projects /ps2008/ps2008ho me.htm. It is a three day project October 29th. - October 31st. and is open to PreK-Third Grade students. It certainly fits in with Fall and Halloween activities.

An added feature is a chance to use a wonderful Web 2.0 tool called Voicethread, which many of you know about but may not have tried yet. It will give you and your students a chance to talk about how the project worked in your classroom. Jen will have it all setup and all you will have to do is to follow the simple directions and join in. All information will be at the website by Monday, October 6th.

This would be a fun project to invite all of the Primary classes in your school/district to join. You will excite your students as they learn new ways to manipulate numbers and to talk about their findings.

I hope you will join!