Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Presidential Election Knowledge Cards: Complete Student Candidate Guide via @Citelighter

2012 Presidential Election Knowledge Cards
by Citelighter

I wanted to share with  you a Presidential Debate Ontology that about a dozen Knowledge Experts (college students from top 25 universities, and top 5% of their class) created. This is a list of ~45 issues they believed were important in the upcoming election.  They created Knowledge Cards to support each candidate's side from what they believed was objective evidence (i.e. mostly verifiable facts and very few opinion pieces).  You can access the individual knowledge cards by clicking on the colored dots. I love that this resource was created by students - for students!

Click Here to Access the Free Presidential Election Knowledge Cards! 

The great team at Citelighter worked to support the development of this fantastic resource.  They thought this would be a great way for their Knowledge Experts to simplify the election process for other students, especially those younger than them, across the country in a very organized manner.  

Additionally, Citelighter is giving away 30 FREE Pro-Accounts to our readers!  If you'd like a premium access code, please contact me by clicking hereI'll send you the exclusive information to get upgraded for Free!

Please share this great, free resource on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc!

A Sensible Solution to Election Coverage From @Citelighter 

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Easy Being Green (If You Have a Green Screen): a guest post by @billselak

It's Easy Being Green (If You Have a Green Screen) 
 by Bill Selak 

I film my elementary band tutorials in a concert hall in my classroom. The concert hall is located in the corner of my classroom and is built with green construction paper. It's called a green screen, and it's pretty easy to do use. Green screening, also known as chroma keying or compositing, allows you to add one video on top of another video. This is how the weatherman stands in front of the map--the editor erases the green behind the weatherman, and the map is on the layer below him. Studios have fancy green screens and fancy lighting, but DIY green screens look surprisingly good.

 To create a green screen, you will need either green cloth or green paper. You can even use green butcher paper from your school's workroom. The goal is to have no wrinkles and no highlights on the green--if you spend a lot of time and money setting it up, the effect will look better. The trickiest part of setting up a green screen is to light it evenly. If one part is darker, the software thinks that it is a different tone, and the green will remain in the video. I recommend either the $9 work lamp from a hardware store or the $100 soft box from Tube Tape. As long as the green is decently flat and decently lit, it will disappear.

Try to keep the actor away from the green screen. Also, make sure your actor is not wearing any green, or it will disappear, too. Once you've recorded the green screen footage, you need software that can key out (or get rid of) the green. You can remove the green on Apple computers with iMovie or on iOS devices with Green Screen Mobile Effects (free app). Record the background or find a photo, then drag the greens screen footage on top of the original clip. It's common to see teachers changing the background for tutorials or news shows. Other possibilities include changing backgrounds to a fictional place, "traveling" to a real place, or using student art. The background can be a still image, which is easier, or a video clip.

Once you show your class a few examples, they will amaze you with ways to integrate green screen clips into your classroom. I recommend showing them professional reels and student-created clips. It could also be useful to teach your students about the history of green screen technology. How else have you seen green screens used in the classroom?

Visit Bill on his blog,
and on Twitter @billselak 

A special thank you to Bill for composing this post for my site.  Congrats on getting accepted into the Google Teacher Academy - well deserved!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Halloween from @ed_insights

Happy Halloween from Educational Insights

I'm sure some of you have noticed that Educational Insights is holding a contest on their quest to 50,000 Facebook Fans. Every 1,000 fans – they will choose one lucky winner to win a prize pack worth $500! When they hit 50,000 fans, they will reward ALL of their fans!

The way this giveaway will go is that  the sole entry requirement is to "Like Educational Insights on Facebook". All you would need to do is head over to their Facebook page, "Like Them", and let me know that they did it by leaving a comment on this post to be eligible for the giveaway. 

Once I select a winner through Rafflecopter – I'll send Educational Insights your email address, and they will send out your code at that time (just in time for holiday shopping)!

To Win $50 from Educational Insights:
1.  click here to like them on Facebook
2.  leave a comment on this post telling me you like them on Facebook

Winners will be selected on October 31, 2012.  Happy Halloween!

Bonus Alert:
A second winner will be chosen to receive the Magic Moves Electric Wand!  This is a groovin' product to get kids of any age up and movin'!  Be sure to click here to see how this could be used in your classroom. A super bonus gift valued at $19.99 - thanks Educational Insights!

Shake it up! Work it out! Magic Moves is all about…MOVIN’! Stomp like an elephant! Soar like an eagle! Ninety fun, physical commands, a twinkling light show, and a variety of musical styles get little ones up and keep them moving, exercising their bodies, creativity, and listening skills!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 22, 2012

SMART Board Tip: Hundreds Grid

Using the Hundreds Grid for Counting Patterns

Sometimes the best discoveries happen by accident!  I've been using SMART Notebook for about five years.  I always enjoy learning new tricks the software, Notebook, is able to do.  Two years ago, I became a SMART Exemplary Educator, SEE.  I've been able to attend various trainings and meet many professionals who are very skilled in this area. 

Though I can do many tricks with the software, I'm always excited when I stumble upon a new function.  Many of you may already know this, but I was surprised to find that you can use the eraser to make certain number cells on the grid disappear.  

The other day, I had drawn all over the SMART Board and wanted to erase certain parts of my scribble.  I accidently tapped one of the numbers as I was erasing.  We all gasped in unison.  It was a pretty cool discovery we made together in class.  The students got so excited and challenged me to try to see if I could stump them with certain patterns.  We took it one step further and I quickly split the screen and made a pattern for the kids to work out.

After we use our pen to fill in the grid on the right, we tap the missing numbers on the left to check our work.  The children love doing number grids on the SMART Board!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Save, Share, and Organize each Lesson and Classroom Activity with @TeamClaco

Share your Content, Find Great Resources, and Organize your Material

Claco is a free site for teachers to add their favorite content and find great resources to use.

Compared to Pinterest:
Claco is similar to Pinterest because you can  view content on the main page.  When you find something you like, you can snap (pin) it to your own binders (boards).  You can set up as many binders (boards) as you'd like.  You can add your own content, too.  Others begin snapping your content to their binders.  It's a very social platform.

Compared to Microsoft Word:
Though I love Pinterest, sometimes I feel as though my content gets disorganized when too many items are added to a board.  I'm finding now that I need to add more boards to stay more organized in Pinterest.  For example, I need to take my Language Arts board and create sub boards: grammar, phonics, reading, writing, anchor charts, etc.  

I wish I could have a Language Arts Board and sub boards within that board.  For example, if someone clicked on my Language Arts board, they'd see several itemized boards within that one board.  They would see my grammar, phonics, reading, writing, anchor charts, etc.  This is not possible in Pinterest.  My only option is to have a million separate boards.

I've been downloading my favorite Pinterest finds, saving the files within Microsoft Word files.  I love that I can create file folders within file folders in Word. 

The Problem:
I can not save my websites, only my files.  Sometimes I find a really great blog post that I want to save; however, I can't do this in Word.  So, I still save these favorite finds in Pinterest.

This is where I get really frustrated.  I have been looking for a site where I can truly save all of my favorites in one place: files, websites, and have organized folders within folders (without having a million boards or separate files).  

The Answer:
With Claco,  I can create 'boards within boards' and save ALL of my favorite content in ONE place!  Here is a look inside one of my binders: math...

An added bonus is that Claco is available anywhere, anytime.  I never have to carry a flashdrive.  I don't have to email myself files.  Just like with Dropbox, I can access my content from any computer.  I never have to worry about forgetting my thumb drive or leaving my lesson on my school computer if I'm planning from home.  It's all saved in the Cloud!

Another fun feature in Claco is that you can share great content easily with one click.  If you find a really great language arts resource, you can Pin it, Tweet it, or share it on Facebook.  You can see my reading workshop binder below this paragraph.  I have a ton of resources within this binder.  Click here to check them out.  

Would you like an invitation to Claco?

Once you are logged into Claco, you gain access to all of the free content shared on the site.  
Click here to subscribe to me and access all of my content and files!

I have a few Free Invites for Immediate Access:

Click Here to get right in to explore Claco!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Magnetic Elasped Time Set Give-Away from @LearningHandsOn

14 Piece Magnetic Elapsed Time Set by Learning Resources

We study time a lot in second grade.  When Learning Resources asked me to select products to review and give-away, I knew I wanted to find a product that focused on telling time via an analogue clock.

The Magnetic Elapsed Time Set works to build a complete understanding of elapsed time.  The 14 piece set includes: 2 clock faces with removable guide numbers, 4 piece timeline with color-coded am and pm hours, 2 hour and 2 minute hands, start and end labels, and an activity guide.

Because children are not exposed to analogue time as much, having these vibrant displays really helps to understand how to read the clock and determine the passing of time.  I especially like having the colored timeline to use for calculating the elapsed time.  This feature is easily understood by my second graders because we practice a lot with number time lines and counting.  Therefore it is easy to transfer the concept to time.

Follow Me on Pinterest

To win your own Magnetic Elapsed Time Set by Learning Resources, simply complete the Rafflecopter form.  Winners will be selected next Monday on October 22, 2012.

Which Presidential Candidate do you side with in this election? Take this quiz to find out...

Take a quick survey to see who you side with on important issues

I recently found about about this survey tool from one of my favorite blogs, FreeTech4Teachers, by Richard Byrne.  You can click here to see his full post. 

I Side With is an easy tool that asks a series of questions based on social, environmental, economic, domestic policy, healthcare, foreign policy, immigration, and science issues.  Each category contains about four questions.  You have the option to add more questions in order to narrow your results to be more specific.  Additionally, you can slide a bar to determine how important the question/issue is to you based on a high to low level of importance. To take the quiz, click here.

I imagine this could be a beneficial tool for all voters.  Personally, I enjoyed seeing my results and how they matched the candidate I'm in favor of supporting. 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How I use the new @ClassDojo App as a class job

Letting Children Monitor Their Own Behavior

I have written about Class Dojo on several occasions: Your Simple Classroom Solution for Active Engagement Class Dojo wins at NBC's Education Nation, and Easily Send Behavior/Academic Report Cards to Parents - Weekly - with Just One Click.  However, my purpose for this post is to share their new app and how I'm using the free service in my classroom.

Instead of setting up Class Dojo in the traditional manner to monitor individual student behaviors, I set it up to monitor classroom expectations.  Because I do not like to award points or give rewards in my room, I adopted a method my friend, Suzie Brooks, shared.  I set up classes - not students.

Because we discuss what our expectations should look like during certain parts of our day, we simply transferred those anchor charts to the web via Class Dojo. For the complete explanation of how I set up my classroom, select play on the video below this paragraph.  

Now that there is an app, I have Class Dojo as a class job.  I actually use to have a job chart that rotated students and jobs.  However, I found that this alone was a management piece.  Anything that takes away from my planning for creative lessons gets added to the top of my list for restructuring.  In other words, if something doesn't add value to my class in an academic or cultural sense, I change it.  Our time is precious, and I need my focus to be on my student's best interests.

Since rotating class jobs was taking too much time (about 5 - 10 minutes a week), I changed it.  Having an additional 5 - 10 minutes a week is a big deal when your time is already so limited.  Additionally, some students would become sad if they were Secretary and the phone didn't ring all week.   Now, I have one job person a day.  I go straight down my list.  We start with person number one... then the next day person two is the job person... and so on - it's similar to 'Helper of the Day' in younger grades.  I just call the job 'Teacher Assistant.'  This person gets the snack, takes attendance, is line leader, and now will track expectations via Class Dojo.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools: A Quick Guide

Web 2.0 Tools in Education Series
Collaboration Tools: A Quick Guide

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a resource that explained, in detail, everything you needed to know about collaborating online: what tools were available, how to sign up, getting started, etc.?

I meet a lot of teachers at conferences, and I often want to collaborate with them on some ideas that we may have had some discussion about.  It's a great time to be an educator as it seems there is a new great tool for our use almost daily.  Not too long ago if we wanted to collaborate on a project we may have been sending emails back and forth, meeting in person, or gasp - using the postal service.  Now there are wikis, Google Docs, VoiceThreads, etc.  With all of these new tools, there are great benefits but there is also a lot to learn. 

Personally, I'm an avid user of Google Docs for collaboration.  Google seems to be a platform that everybody in the world has access to, and I am very comfortable using Google Docs.  I can just start a document and share the link to a colleague, and presto - we are sharing information while creating a new living document.  On occasion however, I find that a colleague will want to use a different platform - and suddenly I'm thinking the postal service isn't such a bad idea after all.  Now I need a login, a password, I need to learn how to use this thing.......can't you just email it to me?  No need to panic - I've got my trusty Web 2.0 quick guide, which can make this new site seem just as easy to me as my beloved Google Docs.

Collaboration Tools
click here to download the free e-book 

Dr. Mohamed Amin Embi (a brilliant mind) has been developing an educational series of web 2.0 tools.  Now, we can all get more comfortable with the language of the collaboration tools we may have been avoiding.  One of his most recent collections in his series is: Collaboration ToolsThis e-book is available for free through Scribd.  You can view it online for free, download it for a cost, and even print a copy to organize in a binder (Scribd members).  The resource is organized into ten chapters.  

Each chapter thoroughly explains what the tool is, advantages of using the tool, ways to incorporate it into education, detailed pictures guiding you through getting started, and references.

The detailed pictures really support understanding the tool:

Once you are on the Scribd site to view this resource, I encourage you to share it with others so that we can all benefit from these tools.  You can download the document or embed it onto another platform.  If you have the following networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, please be sure to click the buttons you will see to the left of the document and share this resource.

Find this book and more on

He has also made it really easy to access this resource along with many others on his page.  I'm already a follower.  If you'd like quick access to his Web 2.0 Series, click here to bookmark this page.  Be sure to click 'follow.'

{click here to follow Web 2.0 OER on}

Disclaimer: Web 2.0 OER is a sponsor of this site