Interactive Periodic Table

Popular Science has an amazing interactive periodic table posted on their site. Each element is represented by an image of where that element shows up in nature or is used in the world. Click on the element and get a quick explaination of its use and a link to further info. via The Junk Edublog

7 Tips to Get Blogs into Reluctant Schools (prt 1)

The first rule of blog club is don’t talk about blogs. The second rule… I know it’s a stretch but this is a fight and you will have to employ subterfuge, guerrilla tactics, mind games and stealth to pull this off. Ignorance and fear are your opponents. Defeating them will enable you to put a powerful tool back in the hands of teachers and students alike. This will not be easy, nor will it be quick. If you can get the conversation started here are some avenues of attack. Have patience grasshopper and good luck. Stage 1- get blogs your web based authoring tool approved as a purely organizational web authoring tool. Don’t refer to it as a blog. Use that word as little as possible. It’s WordPress or TypePad or Blojsolm or some other software name. It’s a site, website or get fancy and call it an “internet presence.” The less you say the word blog the calmer and more rational people will be. Focus on what it can do that will make reluctant administrative types happy. For now- this is a web-based tool that allows teachers to create a strong web presence for student and parent use. Teachers will be able to organize information (daily classwork, homework and documents) quickly and easily on a daily basis for student […]

Organization in a MetaData World (Part 2)

Jim’s finally figured out how to use this system effectively! A month ago I blogged my entrance in to the GTD (Getting Things Done) world of organization. Looking back, I haphazardly entered the system. I did all of my research online, and, when I finally pieced my system together, there were major holes that caused the whole thing to stall. Not wanting to give up on a system that had such potential, I broke down and bought David Allen’s book. Reading the book helped me see the bigger picture. I realized there was more to the system than simply cataloging to dos and taking care of the little things when they pop up on your radar. GTD crystallizes the new reality of work. We are no longer in a world where your work is one cog or step in an assembly line of actions. Our roles in the workplace are constantly evolving, and we need a structure of organization that respects the fluidity of our responsibilities. I spent two nights in my classroom until 9PM to initiate myself to GTD. Every file, every binder, ever poster on the wall, and every odd pile around my room was sorted. Nothing was set aside for future consideration. Let me say that I inherited file cabinets and binders full of resources from the […]

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Possible Fun Writing Prompts

Wikipedia’s “speedy deleted” article titles might make a fun, no hassle writing prompt reservoir. I’m not exactly sure how Defective Yeti got these but I’m sure some of you wikipedia experts could tell me (and then I’ll update the post and feel less inadequate). Some are, of course, not school safe but you could just list the titles somewhere and ask the student to write the wikipedia style article that should go with the title. You’d be mixing in writing style, voice and likely a large dose of creativity. It’d be fun to compile them over the year for a fake wikipedia site for your class (bonus points for doing it on a real media wiki installation). Here’s a sample of a few I thought would be good- Polydimensional industrial bio-cosmic psychology of microscopic bacterium Temple of the Jedi Order (Real) Goatsurfing The Angry Video Game Nerd Cheesemonger Ape jazz

SUPER ZOOM in Google Earth

I’m trying to go to sleep but I keep finding cool stuff- oh well- I’ll take interesting information over sleep any day. There are secret super zoom areas in Google Earth- good enough to make out faces. Check out this article for the details on how to do it and make sure you wear a disguise while outside so our new Google Overlords don’t get you in the system :). No real direct educational link right now based on the randomness of the images but it sure shows you what the future is likely to bring (and if that aint educational. . . I don’t know what is). Link via- The Raw Feed

Google Lit Trips

Google Earth Lit Trips Novels plotted out in Google Earth with supplementary information and photos. Unbelievably cool. They’ve got a few to choose from with preview screenshots of what you’ll be getting. They have Grapes of Wrath, Candide and Night as well as a number of others. It looks like it’ll be growing too as it’s part of the Google Certified Teacher Program (which I’d kill to do, well at least maim). Kevin Jarnett was lucky and skilled enough to be chosen and has some good posts about his experience. Now I just want to see kids making these. link via Will Richardson

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A Book Review of a Different Color

Probably been done before but I’m trying to make book reviews/reports a little more exciting. We started with the Byrd Book Review blog and simple audio reviews but my goal is to up the entertainment value for listeners and creators. We still haven’t publicized the site with our students but it’s getting pretty decent organic exposure so far. I made a sample review of The Hobbit through the eyes of Gollum using bits and pieces of audio from the movie and BBC radio play. This gives a nice way to review the book and focus on both point of view and the idea of voice in writing. If you’d like to hear it . . . [audio:http://teachers.henrico.k12.va.us/byrd/woodward_t/gollumn reviews it.mp3]

Cockroaches and Gun Fights

1. Cockroach Algebra– is a game where you have to figure the slope of the cockroach’s path before they can breed. If you take too long you’ll have a whole mess of roaches running around on your screen. Get it right and you can smash them with rockets, lasers or even a shoe. Level one is simple but things get harder fast. It’s pretty fun and there is real satisfaction in killing the roaches. 2. Word Shoot– This is a typing game where your speed and accuracy (in typing) allow you to shoot your enemies. Type in their word and gun them down, fail in that endeavour and you get blasted. Nice, simple and possibly inappropriate for school depending on your grade and geographic location. Go play this game, it’s far better than my screenshot indicates.

Comma Rules and Keynote

We teach 12 comma rules each spring in preparation for our state writing test. In previous years, I have worked off of overheads. My students laughed at me as I repeatedly blinded myself while standing in front of the screen. This year, I decided to save my eyes and put a series of Keynote (PowerPoint) presentations together. My goal was to make the lessons easier for visual learners to grasp. I used consistant color schemes and movement on the screen to show the students methods that helped them break apart a sentence. The truth is, grammar is very technical. There is no beauty of word choice or personal expression in placing commas. Grammar is the math, the logic, side of writing. This makes teaching grammar–well–boring (no offence to math teachers out there). Below you will find links to my first effort at making the grammar lessons more engaging than an overhead and my hand. I started making the Keynotes at Rule 4 and worked my way through the lessons before returning to Rules 1-3. It’s interesting to see how the presentations evolve as I became more comfortable with the software. I ended up exporting the presentations as enhanced Quicktime videos that are clickable. I linked these to my homework blog so students could review the lessons if they were having […]

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Welcome VSTE 2007 Attendees

Welcome participants of VSTE Conference. If your looking for blogging resources connected with our presentation “Bob on Blogs,” you will find it here. Feel free to look around and comment while you’re visiting, and make sure you subscribe to or bookmark the blog. We update it several times a week.