Free Technology Resources for Teachers

Free Technology for TeachersI at times get absolutely overwhelmed from TOO many resource choices. For example, I need to find something for “A” and investigate, and search returns show a bazillion possibilities. I think of the “old days” when I was in the classroom and my resources were stored in a filing cabinet; the Internet was in its infancy (remember the dial-up modem sound???).
A clearing house of technology resources that I like to refer to is Free Technology for Teachers, monitored by Richard Byrne, is a concise and well written blog that gives a FUN bazillion possibilities. In fact, it’s fun reading! You can always come away with something new that can be used in your lesson planning for technology projects. To access, click here or click on the picture.

Break Time: What do You Wish You Could Have Done Differently?

great wall and fogThis post was originally meant to be a collection of links from the Blogosphere, but it took a different direction:

Just the other day I started daydreaming while reading my statistics book (imagine that—not being gripped by excitement while in the depth of alpha coefficients!) and was thinking of adventures I’ve had in my life and how much I missed them. While my eyes were blinking rapidly trying to stay awake, they finally surrendered to the struggle, and before I knew it, my head was over taken by gravity — I kicked the Lazy-Boy chair back and propped up my feet.

You know how, while drifting off, memories and thoughts flash before you like a slide show/movie, and those thoughts can appear out of nowhere?

I was reminded of a flying lesson where I flew into a cloud, only to hear my instructor say, “There are television antennas around here somewhere…”

Or, I thought of the time of the panic that we missed the plane in Hong Kong, only to discover that the empty gate meant that the aircraft was late and reassigned to another gate…

I won’t forget the time I was profiled at customs in Europe and taken aside for intense questioning…

Imagine how we felt once we started recognizing the rats where we lived in China and started naming them (the screams emitting from the first floor let us know that some didn’t recognize Mr. and Mrs. Rat and the family)

Or I think of the thrill the first time I saw The Great Wall of China appearing on the horizon…

This recent encounter with statistics came to mind after reading a link on Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Be There. Joe Ehrman referred to a study where those in their twilight years were asked, “What more do you wish you would have done in life?” Their answers?

1) Left More of A Legacy
2) Reflected More
3) Taken More Risks
Take time to take a break from the rigors of work (take a risk!) and think (reflect more) by reading the article here. What do you wish you would have done more of?

Fun Friday: Geography Through a Travel Blog

travel mapOK–Academic Review’s over, Benchmarks are over, the weekend’s here, gas prices are going through the troposphere…why not take some time to sit back and read the travel blog of Nicholas Rapp: “In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.” If you like Amazing Race, for example, this is your time to experience a similar adventure from your house. Nick’s blog can be found at Trans World Expedition.

There are also some great resources in here for the classroom–especially the web cams that are attached to the map above. There also might be some ideas that you can get from here, such as writing prompts (If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?, etc.). Enjoy the weekend!

Shout Out! Art Blog at CES

Art blogThe art teacher at CES has a blog with news of what’s going on in her classroom, resources for fellow art teachers, and a great resource of ideas for those who want to see what other art teachers are doing at the elementary level! The Art Class Coffee House is colorful, full of ideas, has an area for parents, and a great place to grab a cup of coffee and visit her classroom!

Goodies Found On the Internet

A plethora of goodies recently found:

The Ten No Nos of Teaching with a Projector or Interactive Whiteboard : Ideas for making your Promethean/IWB presentations more effective by the Innovative Educator

Stage’D: A 3-day way for students to use digital storytelling in a different way, or as written on their homepage:

Stage’d is a digital toy for creating animated comics. We want to make telling your stories easier. Being big comic and animation nerds ourselves we decided one fateful night to have a go at creating a mash-up.

Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom: a blog from Australia for primary teachers. Who says primary teachers can’t be in the cutting edge of technology (compliment)?

Live Binders: copyright free/ public domain images

What if They had a Facebook Template? Imagine the excitement of seeing George Washington’s Facebook page!

Geocaching ideas: I can get you a set of ten if you want to do this after the SOLs are over!

Start planning for the end of the year:
–>http://www.vickiblackwell.com/endofyear.html
–>http://www.theteacherscorner.net/seasonal/end-of-year/

The Big Deal Book: Find lots and LOTS of links of website resources categorized by monthly newsletters.

Web 2.0 GoldMines

Web 2.0 toolsOn my recent travels through the blogosphere, I came across this in Langwitches–>a huge web page of multiple links to Web 2.0 tools. Take your own trip today:
Bookmarking Tools
Copyright Free Digital Photos
Capturing/Snag-it Programs
Converters
Digital Photo Editor
Digital Photo Project
Flash and Share Your Programs
Music
Photo Hosting and Sharing
Productivity
Students
Timeline Crators
Video Programs
Web 2.0 Repositories
Virtual Worlds

Want Some Great Ideas for Technology Integration for Your Class?

In TRT language, the name Tiny Coffey causes eyebrows to rise, for she is known as a Guru of Great Things as an ITRT (TRT in Portsmouth language). In fact, a colleague told me once, “She commented about you? Wow! You’ve reached big time!”

She has some great posts about recent projects that will give you ideas for things that we can do. Two of our initiatives, VoiceThreads and Blogging, are sampled:

Batty Facts VoiceThread

Blogging, 5th Graders

Global collaboration project: O.R.E.O

and a project worth considering (I can check out ten GPS units):

Geocaching

Take a look–what do you think of trying such projects?

10 Tips for ITRTs/TRTs to Remember

Liz Davis of The Power of Educational Technology writes a post that is a goldmine for my colleagues across the city and state as we remember how to reach the classroom teachers with integrating technology:

1. It isn’t really about the tool it is about how you use it
2. Differentiate
3. Don’t be the only teacher
4. Ask lots of questions
5. Enlist your PLN
6. Remember there is great teaching without technology
7. Acknowledge your teachers’ anxiety and expertise
8. Start with the early adopters
9. Observe your colleagues
10. Don’t touch the mouse

Read the full post here

Dare to Dream with Your Students: How About a Travel Blog/Wiki?

Big Ben at Midnight“Quick! We’ve got to go–now!” The urgency of her voice said there was no time to waste. We grabbed our things and ran out of the McDonald’s as it was closing for the night.

My friends and I had just taken the Chunnel Train (EuroStar) from Paris to London, and after living on a backpacker’s style budget while there, McDonald’s seemed like the Fat Canary in Williamsburg. The body was tired, but the adventure moved the adreneline to action. Jumping on the Underground, we set forth to an unknown destination picked by our host/friend.

“Run!” she said. We rocketed out of the Underground and headed for the stairs to exit the subway. As we roared around the corner, the station was closing and gates were going up, and our host pleaded our case for them to let us out. As I started up the stairs to the outside, having no idea where I was (we had been up since 5 a.m.), I heard a deep, low, resounding “Bong! Bong!” There, at the top of the stairs, was Big Ben ringing midnight. We all stood at the base, amazed. Looking around, our host had a grin that said, “Always trust me when I say run!” Another adventure to add to the journal! Intrigued? How about experiencing a traffic jam, quite unlike Tidewater’s?Traffic Jam I worked in the mountains of China in a small town, and on my way to explore caves one afternoon after work, there was a tie up. top of the worldWant to know what the top of the world, the Arctic Ocean, looks like? I took this on the way to Beijing. Or, ever wonder what it’s like CLIMBING the Great Wall? Note that you’re looking at a VERY steep incline:
note the hard climb

Intrigued? I wanted to whet your appetite, for I found a great blogging site from Discovery of students/classes who are taking trips around the world to such places as Australia, China, and the Arctic. Complete with pictures and posts, students share their adventures and travels. Even though we’re not privileged enough to take our students on adventures, imagine if you could read blogs, or better yet, collaborate with classes around the world? Tie this in with geography, Social Studies, or what-have-you, it would give your students a chance to dream and have a goal to have! Even one of our own, Mrs. Pennington, had a blog from her travels to Poland this summer! After exploring the Discovery blogs, if you’re interested, let me know. I’ll be happy to do some footwork and research and see what and who I can find to start a collaboration project with. Dream BIG!parisIMG_0988