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!