Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Week's Tip

How Well Do You Know Your Remote?

Here is a quick overview of some useful buttons on your remote for your projector.  There are a few buttons that will make your job much easier.  

One is called Pic-mute. The function of this button is to turn off the image and sound from the projector for a short period of time.  It does not shut off the projector, but rather just mutes it like the mute button on a TV.  Your screen will go blank.  To resume the image and sound, just push the Pic-mute button again.  This is useful when you want to stop using the Smart Board for a short period of time without turning off the projector.

Another button is the Freeze button.  It will freeze whatever is being projected onto your screen and allows you as the teacher to do other things on your computer without the students seeing what your are doing.  The picture is "frozen" and remains that way until you click Freeze again.  I find this useful if there are directions or information on the Smart Board, but I need to check AR, Gmail, or another document. 

There is another button that is useful.  This is the Magnify button that makes the image on your screen larger or smaller.   Too many times the image on the Smart Board is too small for the students to see.  Rather than trying to increase the font or enlarging the image, the magnify button will zoom in on the screen.

To see all of the buttons available and what each button does, see this link to the owner's manual for the MPES and Quest projectors.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Project Based Learning

I love this video created by Common Craft.  It explains Project Based Learning in a very simplistic way!

Stacey and I have the critical thinking, collaboration and communication components built in our projects, but the area our students have the most difficulty with is critical thinking!  They love to collaborate.  Communicating is natural for some of our students and a challenge for others in our room.  But critical thinking is just plain difficult for our students developmentally.  Any ideas on how to improve critical thinking skills are welcome.

One more note:  I keep hearing that if the teacher is working harder than the students, something is wrong.  Students should be doing most of the work and the thinking.  This is what I am working towards as an educator.  I want to see the students doing the critical thinking and not me thinking for them!  Your thoughts on how best to make this happen are welcome.  Please share if something works for you.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tis the Season of Giving

Here is a site called "Got Free Cards" that allows your students to make Christmas cards (or any type of card for that matter).  It is simple to use.  Students can add a photo or image to the card.  Students can add stickers to their card and change the text.  They can choose fonts and colors.  Printing out the cards is also easy.  I chose single sided.  

We plan to use this site to create and send Christmas cards to our friends and family.  

I think your students would enjoy using "Got Free Cards". 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Are You Interested in Twitter?

One question I get asked often is, "Where do you get all of your ideas and resources?"  Well, one of the best places to get ideas and resources is from Twitter.  I follow some pretty amazing educators from all over the world.  I also follow some great leaders in education.  Twitter is also about sharing what you know as well.

Some of the teachers in our district will soon be starting a Twitter group for Ripon teachers.  I plan on joining this group.  

So, my question to all of the followers of this blog is this:  Are you interested in joining Twitter and learning how to communicate and share with other educators?  

I am offering to teach anyone interested the basics of Twitter.  I would like to do this over Christmas break.  First I would like to know how many people, if any, are interested.  If possible, I would like to do this informally at my home in Fond du Lac or at MPES.  We would gather on a day that works for most people.
If you are interested, please fill out the survey below and I will get back to you soon.

Let's see if there is any interest.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Week's Tip

Watch this video to learn an easy and useful tip.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rhyming Dictionaries

Check out these great sites for Rhyming Dictionaries!  Our students used these this morning to write poetry about winter and snow.  They found the sites to be easy to use and very useful!

 Rhyme it

Write Express

Write Express

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Record Yourself Easily!

Click the arrow below to listen to this podcast about Vocaroo!  

Click here to go to Vocaroo.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Polar Express Resources

Here are some great resources for the Picture Book The Polar Express:

Download a Smart Notebook file here!

The official Polar Express site!  There are a lot of fun things to do here!

Have Lou Diamond Phillips read The Polar Express to your students here.

This site is not about The Polar Express, but it is a great site for sending a personalized message to a young person from Santa Claus.  I made a video for my son, Robert, and he absolutely loved it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jackpot of Christmas Resources

Here is a site that has tons and tons of Christmas resources. It is called Steph Westwood's LiveBinders collection.  This site is created using a Livebinder. These are becoming quite popular. If you've never used a Livebinder before, here are some basics.

LiveBinders allow you to organize all your websites and web-based resources in a virtual “three ringed binder".

I like LiveBinders because it:
  • is free (for 100MB of storage).
  • is easy to use.
  • allows you to organise a collection of websites.
  • is an easy way to share sites with students or colleagues.
If you would like to create your own LiveBinder, simply visit http://livebinders.com/ and watch the video for a full explanation. I haven't created a LiveBinder yet, but I would like to!


How to Use Steph Westwood’s LiveBinders collection:

  1. Visit http://livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit/39128
Be patient, it takes a minute to load.

  1. You will notice there are tabs up the top of the page. Click on the category you are interested in.
  2. Subcategories of different websites will now appear at the top of the page. Click on these to preview different websites. Click on the link if you want to go directly to the website.

Have fun with Steph Westwood's Livebinder and enjoy all of these great resources!