Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Teacher Pages Training

Here are some screencasts of how to work on the new teacher pages on our website. If you would like to see a larger version of the screencast simply click the word Screenr in the bottom right of a video.

Logging into the Faculty/Staff portal and creating a group overview.

How to add a post to your class bulletin board and how to add files and folders to your resources.

Adding an event to your classroom calendar.

How to add media (photo slideshows, mp3s or videos) to your class.

How to add a discussion thread to your class page.

How to insert and edit pictures and hyperlinks using the Full Popup Editor.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Math and Science Resources

Today I wanted to share a couple Math and Science resource websites.

The first is Khan Academy which "is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere. We have 1000+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan." It's amazing how many links and resources this one site has and makes me think about how great it would be if more of our lectures were shared online.

The second is 10 Ideas for Innovative Math Instruction from the Innovative Educator blog. "Innovative educators know that math doesn't have to be boring or abstract. There are several innovative ideas for spicing up your math class." These vary from lower to upper school resources.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blogs and Wikis from the Student Perspective

Here is a video from students at Parish Episcopal in Dallas talking about their opinions on blogs and wikis used in the physics classes. They talk about how it helps them with getting questions answered, reflecting for deeper understanding as well as a developing an ownership of their learning.

NOTE: If you are at school you will need to go to youtube and override the filter and then return here so you can see the video.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Connected Teaching

Below is an excerpt from an article posted today about connected teaching and the National Education Technology Plan. While I may not be a big fan of national standards in teaching it is very interesting that they are recognizing the need for teachers to be connected and become a part of a network to help better educate our students. Click here to read the entire post.

“To me, at least, one of the most interesting phrases used in the new National Educational Technology Plan was this: “…using technology to help build the capacity of educators by enabling a shift to a model of connected teaching.” Obviously, this implies much more than being “connected” in the we-all-have-access sense. As the plan goes on to say, it means that “teams of connected educators replace solo practitioners” and that “connection replaces isolation.””

What do you think being a connected teacher means and how do you accomplish becoming one?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 Cool Tech Tools - Last Friday resources

Here are the links and screencasts for the 5 tools presented on March 25th.

iPadio is a podcasting website that allows you to simply use your cell phone. After signing up, you call in from the phone you designated and enter the pin number it assigned you and simply talk into your phone. Instant podcast (they call them phlogs).

Glogster EDU
This is the Education Glogster site that lets you create online posters. By signing up for an edu account, you can create students and classes so that you can keep your posters private if you wish.

Here is a screencast of signing up and beginning creating a poster.

Here is the second part that includes adding videos and publishing.

Online timeline tool that allows you to add pictures and embed video.

Here is a screencast of creating events, adding pictures and viewing your timeline.

Here is the second part that includes editing events and embedding video.

Wikis are like word documents on the web or very easy to make websites. You can make them public so anyone can edit them or restrict editing to just people you invite.

Here is a screencast on making a wiki in wikispaces.

Slideshare allows you to upload PowerPoint presentations so that anyone can see them at home. Could be a great way for absent students to catch up, review at the end of the unit or as a preview of a coming unit.

Here is a screencast of how to upload a powerpoint.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PowerPoint with voiceover on Slideshare - How to

Have you ever wanted to put a PowerPoint on the web so your students could review the material? What if a student was absent? You could also have your students watch a presentation before coming to class so you could have more conversations about the topic in class.

Slideshare allows you to accomplish this and here is a three step process that will allow you make something like this.

Step 1 - Uploading your PowerPoint to Slideshare

Step 2 - Making your voiceover in Audacity

Step 3 - Syncing your voiceover with your PowerPoint

Sunday, February 28, 2010

100 Video Sites Every Educator Should Bookmark

"It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran teacher or a newbie just now taking college courses — finding new ways to get students engaged in the classroom is always a great thing. One way many teachers are reaching out is with the multitude of material found on the web, allowing them to turn everyday lessons into a multimedia experience. You can find a great amount of helpful material on these sites, including videos to augment your lessons, lectures to inspire students, documentaries to show them how things work, and loads of additional videos to help you become a better, smarter teacher."

Click here for the categorized list

An Open Letter to Educators

How can we keep students like this from dropping out of college?

Is there any truth to what he says?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

These are some sites that I found for possible science labs and other material.

Build a Virtual Atom

This sounds like a neat site for my 5th graders. You must first download Shockwave if you don't already have it. This allows you to open the Atom Builder.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My students use this site to help them learn science vocabulary. It allows them to memorize while having fun. Use it with any subject where memorization is necessary. Check it out.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Student Researchers: Looking for Authentic Audience and Expert Voices

I came across this project from a school in Atlanta that reminded me a lot of the presentations we saw at ISAS. It offers a glimpse into an 8th grade science project but more importantly gives an example of an inquiry driven, transparent research project. It is also asking for help in finding experts to help with their projects. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Virtual Earthquake Exercise / Virtual Volcano Exercise

I use these sites in the computer lab to allow my students to explore the different levels of earthquake intensity or the different types of volcanic eruptions. They can play "Mother Nature" by adjusting earthquake parameters, such as ground foundation type, prevention methods, and magnitude. The earthquake is started, and they see the damage that can occur to a building that is on the screen. It also mentions possible death tolls, possible injuries, dollar damage, etc. With the volcano exercise, they can adjust parameters, such as lava viscosity and gas pressure. The site mentions the type of volcano or volcanic feature that the set conditions favor. The students cause the volcano to erupt, and they see the type of eruption, damages, etc...sound effects and all. These are terrific sites that really engage the students.
Virtual Earthquake exercise:

Virtual Volcano exercise:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Autonomy - "Pinkish" Lesson Design

I just read this post entitled Grading student projects: Separating content from delivery and thought about how it applied to the autonomy that Daniel Pink spoke about.

"I am a big fan of student choice. When students work on projects, I think that they should have as much choice as possible regarding both the topic and the delivery. Choice increases student buy-in and ownership."

Click here and read the rest of the article.

Do you think autonomy is an important part of learning. Do you think this helps achieve that goal?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Interesting article in 360 West.

The magazine 360 West featured Dr. Moody Alexander from Arlington and his families amazing work with orphans in Africa. The kids came up with the idea after reading the book "Same Kind of Different as Me" which is on the Oakridge US reading list. They have adopted 2 children from Africa, but more than that, they have inspired others to take part. They have a blog site of their own that you may want to read. The family is featured in the new book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore called "What Difference Do It Make?" I found this article inspiring and intriguing for many reasons, the main ones being he is Brock's orthodontist (as well as many kids at Oakridge) and the book is on our reading list. The link to the article is in the blog.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Interactive Textbooks

"Software developer ScrollMotion has been tapped to develop iPad-friendly versions of textbooks for education publishers like McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Kaplan. Features that may make it into the iPad textbooks include video, interactive quizzes, the ability to record lectures, highlight and search text, and take notes, according to The Wall Street Journal."

Click here to read the whole article.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Whyville Times

Here is a fun site for general information written by people of various ages. The reader can find links/web addresses to the original source for some of the information posted as in the article about chewing gum Chomp! All About Chewing Gum . I receive the "Times" each time it's published because of accessing

Whyville Times found at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Find the States

Here's a great website I share with my 3rd graders to practice learning their state locations.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Math Relevant 2 whom?

Here is a video of Arthur Benjamin, a mathematician and magician. He gave a TED talk about making math more relevant. In his speech he gives a plug to the field of Statistics, pointing out that this is where students "see" the relevance of mathematics. It is short but sweet. I am going to have my Precal kids watch this and respond on a blog I create.

Word Play

Here's a fun way to work with vocabulary no matter the content or grade level. Simply follow the website and create your "Wordle" using the words of your choice. Enjoy:)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I Chose Yale - Glee Style

Here is something light-hearted for Friday. The Yale admissions office in conjunction with current students and alumni produced this video for prospective students. If you enjoy Glee or High School Musical or just appreciate that type of humor, you'll get a good chuckle as well as an insight on how colleges and universities are trying to reach their audience.

If you are at school, the box below is probably white. You need to go to and do the override at the bottom and then come back to this page and go to View-Refresh and you will be able to see the video.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Technology in Schools - Is there a choice?

I was reading Will Richardson's blog this morning ( and came across his post No Choice.

In there he asserts that "this generation of kids in our schools is the first not to have a choice about technology." He talks about the Kaiser Report and Seth Godin's book Tribes as well.

He finishes with the following...
"We may not feel comfortable in a world filled with technology. We may not like the way it’s changing things and, even more, how fast it’s changing things. We may not like the way it pushes against much of what we’ve been doing in schools for eons. But our kids don’t have a choice. And if we’re going to fulfill our roles as teachers in our kids lives, neither do we."

It's an interesting read and the comments are very enlightening as well. Check it out here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good Reads

The Oakridge faculty and staff and parents have the opportunity to join a website where we can share and discuss books with each other. Several of you and several parents who love to read have talked about a way to get together. Although physically getting together would be great, that is not easy in our environment. However, offers us the ability to have on-line discussions which will perhaps lead to groups meeting together in the future. Faculty and parents want to know what the students are reading and to be informed about new books being published. This is a perfect site also for recommendations to be made for future purchases for the library. A group on has already been begun, The Oakridge School Readers. Please consider joining today.

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can also post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future.
Signing up is simple—you just enter your name, email, and a password.

To start using Goodreads you should select books that you have read, that you are reading, or that you want to read and add them to “your books”.

Groups are the perfect way to bring a group of people together to discuss literature. You can join with The Oakridge group by joining The Oakridge School Readers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Signing up for a Google Account

Here is a screencast on how to sign up for a Google Account. If you have a request for a screencast just send me an email and I will see what I can do.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dynamic Periodic Table

Here's something for the science crowd. Want to know what the Alkaline Earth Metals are...just mouse over. Noble gasses...just mouse over. Want element weight...turn it on or off. You get the idea. Cool stuff. Check it out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Be Less Helpful" - A Teaching Philosophy

While this is a math lesson I think everyone could benefit from reading it because it is all about teaching. The full post includes video of him actually teaching the lesson as well as the slides he uses. It also shows how sharing your teaching online can help you find better lessons for yourself. Great stuff.

This is from one of my favorite edubloggers Dan Meyer, a math teacher from California. His philosophy is to "be less helpful" when you teach. He wants teachers to lead their students through a guided inquiry model to solve problems. When I first heard it, I wasn't buying it. But now I'm all in. I think it's a great way to utilize the Socratic method and lead the students in a more engaging way.

Dan takes this graph from a fellow blogger and shows how he utilized it in his classroom.

"At one point in my career, I would have led this off by giving them all the data and asking them to compute the ratio of cost to volume. but my blue students are poorly-served by that approach. So many of them have been burned so badly by math that if I open the conversation with terms like "ratio" and "volume," pushing numbers and structure right at them, I'll lose the students I want to keep. Moreover, this confuses master with slave. We use math to make sense of the world around us more often than the reverse."

Click here to read how he goes from Red Bull to Crude Oil to HP Ink all while teaching ratios and volume.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How the Internet Changed Writing in the 2000s

With all the talk about 2010 being the "Year of the Tablet", the most fascinating aspect of a potential iPhone-like change to the reading culture comes down to how writing may continue to evolve.

If you haven't seen some of the demos from publishers, here are a couple. The first from Sports Illustrated and Time.

The second from CourseSmart with a vision of textbooks.

Here is an excerpt from a post about how the internet has already changed writing. I personally think that by the time our eighth graders graduate, the traditional writing form will be dominated by hyperlinks, photo slide shows and video snippets.

"In a famous passage from Ulysses, James Joyce recapitulates the development of the English language in 45 pages — from the archaic and formal (“Deshil Holles Eamus”) to the conversationally casual (“Pflaap! Pflaap! Blaze on”). Over the past decade, as more people have spent more time writing on the Internet, that same evolution has not only continued, it feels like it’s accelerated."

Click here to read the rest of the article.

This is a very hot topic lately, what are your thoughts?