Monday, August 31, 2009

Map Skills? Geography? Landforms? Ocean? Rivers? Teach Any of These?

What a great way to deliver geography concepts to your class and have them eagerly awaiting the next installment of the lesson. The Globetrackers' Mission is an online "blog" written by fictional teens who are traveling to different places on the globe. It is sponsored by Teacher's First and to me would be an ideal way to builkd student awareness about their world.
Globetracker’s Mission is a unique, engaging way for students in grades 2-6 to learn geography, map skills, and landforms through an episodic story. Each week, a new episode, in the format of a blog post, appears on the Globetracker’s Mission site. The “blog” is written by fictional teenagers Geo and Meri as they travel on a secret “mission” for an unnamed government agency.
All the registration and participation information will be up in mid-September, but as you are planning out your year now, I thought I would alert you to this great resource.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Places to Get Free Things For your Classroom

I have written before about signing up for Donors Choose as a way to let the world community know about projects you would do with your class if you only had some extra money for supplies or equipment. People who would like to support schools go to the Donors Choose Website and very often choose a project and fund it. Easy for teachers and lucky for the class that benefits. I knew about Donors Choose but today in Free Technology For Teachers, I learned about some other opportunities for getting things for your class without dipping into your own pocket or without having to "beg" for what you need. I have taken these directly from Mr. Byrne's blog Free Technology For Teachers - What a Great Resource!!!

Goldstar Registry is a free service for teachers to use to get school supplies. The idea behind Goldstar Registry is the same as bridal registry services. Teachers visit the Goldstar website and register for classroom materials that they would like to receive. Then if a parent or grandparent asks if you would like anything for your classroom, you can have them look at your online registry.

Classwish is a service through which teachers can find people willing to help purchase supplies for their classrooms. Classwish operates in a very similar manner to Donors Choose. On Classwish, teachers can create a wish list of supplies that they need for classrooms that aren't provided in their school budgets. People looking to help teachers can purchase products on a teacher's list and receive a tax deduction for their purchase.

iLove Schools is a non profit organization that aims to provide teachers with classroom supplies that their schools don't provide. iLove Schools operates in a manner similar to that of Donors Choose and Class Wish. To get classroom supplies teachers register on iLove Schools and create a list of items that they would like to have for their classrooms. Donors can visit iLove School to choose a classroom to which they would like to donate supplies.

If you love free stuff as much as I love free stuff, check out Go To Freebie. On Go To Freebie you can find free samples of everything from bath and beauty supplies to toys and school supplies. Go To Freebie has forums and feedback to share experiences and tips about the freebies. Go To Freebie could be a good resource for teachers that are looking for simple "prizes" to give away to students as recognition for levels of achievement. Something that I do with free samples at the beginning of each school year is give out free notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies as prizes in ice-breaking activities.

As you start your year off, maybe you can not only wish you had what you needed or wanted , but actually get some of these things! Good Luck!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Get an Acer Netbook for Preview/or Great Price

Hi Everyone,

I hope many of you are enjoying this weekend and not sitting inside planning for the upcoming school year....but, if I know teachers - many of you are, if not actually planning, you are thinking about planning.

It is time to get in on a wonderful program for teachers from Acer, the company that makes those very reliable, very small laptops that are really easily portable and convenient.

There is a program that goes like this: You, as a teacher apply (deadline is August 30, 2009) and they send you this computer with no cost to you. You are then obligated to listen to 2 conference sales calls. After 30 days, you then decide if you want to keep the netbook for $199.00 -(most prices I saw were over $325.00) or whether you want to send it back in the box they provide postage-free. With your application also comes a chance to be one of three classes outfitted with a class set of these netbooks.

This is something I really wanted to be a part of. However, I was told that I did not qualify since I was not connected to a school. Boy, I would have loved one of those for travel for under $200.00. So, the next best thing is to pass this offer on to all of you! Good Luck!
Acer Seed Unit Program

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tutorials for Web 2.0 Tools

As the summer is winding down, we are all set for some review and thinking about those Web 2.0 tools that will really enhance instruction this year. Many of you who have been in my workshops know that I showed these tools, but did not delve deeply into the way to use them. I referred you to some tutorials. Now, just in time, all week long, Mr. Byrne who writes Free Technology For Teachers (who I do not think took one vacation day from posting all summer) has prepared some excellent tutorials that make all of these wonderful tools so "user friendly". I have listed and linked you to each of this week's blog postings as he took one tool each day except yesterday when he did a post on Animoto and Voice Thread. The others are for Wikispaces (Make sure you are on the teachers' page so your wiki will be free and ad-free. For the blogs, he uses Edublogs, Blogger, and Word Press.
So for a quick review or to remember why you thought all of these had such potential for the new school year, these tutorials will get you started. Thank you Mr. Byrne!

Using Wikispaces for Creating Wikis
Setting Up A Blog
How To Use Glogster For Education
Animoto and Voice Thread Tutorials
Another Post About Animoto