Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Find the States

Here's a great website I share with my 3rd graders to practice learning their state locations. http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/web_games.htm

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 www.youtube.com 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 (http://weblogg-ed.com/) 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, Goodreads.com 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 Goodreads.com 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. http://www.ptable.com/

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?