Monday, September 5, 2011

Illuminations: Activities

Illuminations: Activities
Check out this website for online interactive math activities. From the website:
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. With 100,000 members and 250 affiliates, NCTM is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving math education in preK‑12.

Illuminations is designed to:

Illuminations is part of the prestigious Verizon Thinkfinity program.

I especially like the fraction models and Geoboards for making geometric shapes. You will find the math standards k-12 as well as lesson plans with activities. Check out the E-Examples from the NCTM website, too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kern CUE Technology Conference 2011

 Hope to see you there!!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Way to Celebrate What We DO!

While looking through my PLN, I came upon a post by Wesley Fryer (Moving at the Speed of Creativity).  I just had to repost the YouTube Video.

Way to go O'Neill Nebraska Public Schools!  I have to say that I am partial to the song (one of my all-time faves) but the enthusiasm is contagious!

Bravo to the staff!  I loved it! And thanks Wesley for sharing it first.

Starting Your Own Professional Development (PLN)

Welcome back to another school year!  As I am getting things prepared for my students, I decided to pull out the list of blog ideas that I made over the summer.  One of the first things on my list was to encourage all my educator colleagues to start a PLN.

As you have been sitting through mandatory Professional Development, trying not to snooze (smile), think about having PD your way.  When you want, what you want to learn, and it's always there to refer back to, no obligation.

A PLN is a Personal(or Professional) Learning Network that you can use to collaborate with others in your field, your areas of interest, or the areas you'd like to grow.  One of the first ways I set up my PLN is with Twitter.

I created a Twitter account to use with my interests in Deaf Education and Educational Technology.  I have found many interesting people to follow and who follow me.  My Tweeps share links to great websites for use with my students or for my own use to be more productive.  We also share links to blogs that colleagues have written on current topics.  Some of these links may also lead you to Facebook where you can follow people or businesses.

     After you find a couple blogs that you'd like to continue to watch, you'll want to start using RSS feeds.  Many programs will offer free RSS readers:  Google, Yahoo etc.  Since I have had a My Yahoo page for years, I added RSS feeds right to My Yahoo.  I can see the headlines of blog entries and click on them to read the story.  One blog everyone should follow is Free Technology for Teachers.  If you look at the right side menu of my blog you will see a place where you can get the RSS feed for yourself.  Click on it.

If you are new to Twitter, it may take you a little bit to add people to follow but don't lose hope.  One connection leads to another.  Look at the how to videos to get some help.  Follow me on Twitter and you can also follow people from my list.  Look at the right side menu and click on the Follow Me link.

After you get a few friends and followers on Twitter you might find that you will benefit from a free service from that you can download for your pc or smartphone.  It allows you to follow more than one topic at a time.  Check it out it helps you be more efficient and productive.  AND it allows you to better participate in chats about subjects that are important to your PLN.  That's where # s  come into play.  The # will allow you to follow others in a conversation about a topic.

There are some really great #chats to follow.... #edchat has topic chats on Tuesdays at noon and 7pm EST.  But there are also #edtech, #elemchat, #spedchat and other # chats in specific areas.  And don't be afraid to ask questions and get more information from others you meet on Twitter. Most people worth knowing will help you.  So don't be afraid, take the leap, and fly into some great information.

Next, I'll be adding a blog about paid sites to do Professional Development at your own time and pace. :-)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Common Core Curriculum Maps

Common Core Curriculum Maps ( ) is a project funded by Melinda and Bill Gates to give teachers some resources, ideas, and activities to use to meet the K-12 Common Core State Standards.  The FREE maps were created by teachers and provide a great groundwork for teachers to plan activities and lessons that will cover their objectives thematically.  The maps list objectives that would most likely be covered, lesson ideas, fiction and non-fiction book resources, and cross-curricular ideas to get the most out of your teaching time. Educators can use these maps to plan out their curriculum timeline and create lesson plans.  It is not a curriculum in itself, but provides a fantastic map of resources to make planning easier.  The website says that they are in the process of revising the maps and will have a newer version soon. 
**NOTE - I received a comment letting me know the link was bad.  When I investigated I found that there is a new edition.  First edition is still free and 2nd edition is paid subscription.  I updated the link to take you to the free resources but please note the 2nd also.  8/13/11

Friday, March 18, 2011

Exhibit Hall Finds @CUE 2011

COOL FINDS on Friday
I found a neat exhibit / website that helps you and your students collaborize.  It is called Collaborize Classroom.  ( You can sign up for FREE!  It has many great functions to use with your students and your lessons. (No, I am not getting any reimbursements from them)
From their website: 
Why Collaborize Classroom?
Collaborize Classroom is designed to complement classroom instruction and engage students in online activities, assignments and discussions that allow for deeper participation inside and outside the classroom.
•Do more with less. Allow your students to participate on their own time with an easy-to-use platform.

•Enrich your curriculum with multimedia. Embed Microsoft Office documents, videos, pictures, and PDFs.

•Give every student a voice. Teach students how to have productive, respectful and supportive discussions online.

•Publish discussions to a results page so students can see tangible outcomes of their conversations.

•Access detailed student participation reports that make grading easy!

•Download FREE lesson plans to help get you started.

  • The next cool thing is an Interactive White Board.... Star Board Link by Hitachi (
  • make any hard surface interactive
  • can be mobile
  • $749
  • can buy a pad to walk around and write for an additional $250
  • hand movements to write, zoom in /out, scroll


IQuest presents STEM resources

First session of the day gave me numerous online STEM RESOURCES. I have used the roller coaster interactivity at Funderstanding with my students before building Knex coasters and found it valuable. Go to
Students can manipulate height, parts, speed, and record their findings on a spreadsheet. Another Physical Science interactivity is from PHET, called Moving Man. . Same principles of manipulation and recording of data. More soon!

CUE 2011

Palm Springs is engaging Ed Tech leaders with great workshops, keynotes, and vendors hall. I am here at The CUE Conference as a learner and presenter. I come here for inspiration and innovation and leave with a brain spinning with ideas and plans. If you haven't already, take a look at CUE Check out for more updates from Kern CUE on fantastic things we have seen here at the CUE Conference.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Updates from Other Great Blogs

I was looking through my PLN blogs and saw a couple websites that I wanted to share.
From Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers-
Rocks and Weathering - a great interactive activity to use with students to learn about rocks.  It shows how different types of rocks form and provides for students to create, inspect, and destroy rocks using different tools.  It also can be captioned (see top menu of website) for those who are Deaf, hard of hearing, ESL, or simply like the captions.  This could be used on individual computers or as an interactive whiteboard activity.

From Digital Goonies - is a great way to organize your information and be able to share it with others.  You can create as many cards as you want and organize them into groups.  You can put links, jpegs, videos on the cards and group them under one heading.  You could use this to build your resources for a unit and then share it with your fellow teachers.   Here is an example of using Wikicards from Digital Goonies.

That's all for now.   I am attending two conferences in the next two weeks and hope to have more to share!  CAL-ED for Deaf Educators in California and CUE - Computer Using Educators big conference in Palm Springs! 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Literacy Centers and Games Based Learning

I was recently catching up on my Twitter PLN. *Quick explanation for those not yet using Twitter to develop professional ideas - I follow #edchat, #spedchat, #edtech, #technology, #kerncue as well as some others to share and get ideas with other educators. * I came across this teacher blog, Better Than Worksheets  ( ).  The blog is written by two teachers, Julie Johnson and Patrick Johnson. 

I was looking around and found two other wonderful parts to this blog, Pop Lit Station and Game Based Learning, developed by Julie.  Julie has some create ideas and has taken action to get them implemented.  (Way to go, Julie!!)  Games Based Learning has some great links and activities to do with your students to develop language, math, Science, PE, and other subject area skills through playing some Wii games.

Pop Lit Station is for the teachers/students in Julie's district, although others may view, please read the note to Out of School Visitors.  Julie uses videos and Google forms with activities for students to complete.  The responses are collected on a spreadsheet for Julie to view and give the students credit for completing.  What a great idea! 

Julie addresses the district standards in creating her activities.  The point to both of these sites is to encourage teachers to try new things to reach students who struggle in school.  Although Special Ed and ESL students could benefit especially, ALL students would benefit from using these approaches.

I think I am going to try out these ideas.  I'll get back to you!


Monday, February 7, 2011

A Field Trip to a State Park WITHOUT the Travel!

An out of town trip for your class?  Doesn't happen very often in this age of restricted budgets.  Even if you do have the funds, traveling more than a few hours wouldn't be possible... until now!

Have you heard of PORTS? Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students is a great program from California State Parks that brings resources, lesson plans, and videoconferences to teachers and students.  Check out their website ( ) for more information on specific programs and resources that they can offer you.  In most cases, they can even lend you the equipment needed for the videoconferencing.

Imagine learning about plants and animals (see your state standards) and being able to take your students on a field trip led by naturalist to make discoveries. 

Check it out and get more information by contacting one of the program managers on the right side menu.  I'm excited to say that my class will be taking a trip to the Redwoods in a couple weeks - via videoconferencing.  I will report back in a couple weeks on how it went!


Better Efficiency? Better Time Management? YOU BET!

I was taking time to read up on my Twitter feeds and working on my own Professional Learning Network when I came across 50 Ways to Use Google Apps in the Classroom, a presentation being done at the TCEA Conference.  I followed the link to the presentation (  ) and was happy with what I saw; Great Ideas!

We recently held a Google for Educators Mini-Workshop @ Kern CUE presented by Jim Ross and Nick Rowland.  So the thought of furthering the wealth of information was on my mind, too. 

I am a Google Apps user and use the Gmail, Documents, Calendar for both my own classroom, personal life, and for the organization Kern CUE.  There is so much in Google Apps for educators to use for themselves and also for their students.  And Google Apps gives you and your students a "universal" word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation program that requires only internet access.  You can even access Google apps from your smartphone.

Take a look at this presentation.  It has links and further explanations within the presentation.  Feel free to comment on how you have been using Google Apps or how you hope to use it in the future!

(And by the way, I am receiving no monetary compensation for telling you about Google or any other websites or books that I mention.)
Thanks to RT by EdTechSandyK for this link!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaching about Money: Earning, Saving, Spending for elementary

Check out Planet Orange for activities on teaching about money:  from earning and saving, to spending and credit.  There are both online and offline activities.  Teachers can download a large activity book (pdf) and lesson plans for grades 1-7.  You can even request hardcopies from ING with a phone number in the front of the book.    The activity book and the website are developed by ING DIRECT.  Vocabulary building and money math activities are seen throughout the lessons, as well as reading for information and problem-solving.  It's a great FREE resource with great ways for kids to learn about money. On the Teacher Resource page, teachers can look up lessons and related state standards to use while lesson planning.
There is a parent permission slip to register kids to use the website (either in school or at home).  For the online activities, the characters talk, but captions are provided.  An online dictionary of important vocabulary is provided that students can click on to get more information about a word they don't know.  Children earn money for completing the online activities and spend money to travel to the different activities.Online activities could be done as an interactive whiteboard activity if you wish. Or you could provide this as an at-home activity suggestion to parents.

Online, students travel to different places and learn about money by reading and/or listening to the information. Of course, they will need to spend money on purchasing fuel! Students earn Obux for completing the lesson and in each section there is a comprehension quiz.  Students may take on jobs to earn more money to continue their travels.  They may also spend some money on games, decorations, or even a robot pet.

This site offers lots of neat activities and resources for teachers about something that everyone needs to learn about.. MONEY!

( )
Via Richard Byrne @ Free Technology for Teachers


Saturday, January 1, 2011

And she's back!

I know it's been a couple months, but I'm back and ready to share more things that I have found around the web.  Check out the Lawrence Hall of Science Kids Site for some great activities and teacher resources for Science.  Very Cool!   While looking for interactives and activities for the Living Things Unit, I also found Animal Planet has a lot a great resources for students and teachers.  Be sure to check under the Wild Animals A-Z for great info for teaching.  More coming! 

I have been busy with our local CUE affiliate for the past couple months, working on our 2nd annual Kern CUE Technology Conference that we held in November.  If you are an educator interested in using technology, check out the websites.

My class has also been fundraising to attend Camp KEEP (Kern Environmental Education Program)  We will be going to stay at Camp KEEP Ocean next week and learning great things about the environment and the living things in it. 

I have been trying to catch up on my list of online resources, so more to come!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 - May it find you and your family happy, healthy, and prosperous! Share/Bookmark