Thursday, September 29, 2011

EdCamp NYC Is This Saturday! Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.

EdCamp NYC is this Saturday! I'll be heading to NYC to learn and share with other educators in the area. Best of all, this learning will be free.

The event will be held at The School at Columbia University. It's a great, relaxed atmosphere to learn and create.

The schedule for the day follows an unconference format. This means that any person attending can be a presenter. I'm considering sharing a session and discussion on Google Earth. We'll see. ;-)

I encourage you to join me! Tickets are FREE! Let's learn, unlearn, and relearn together.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google Geo Institute: Using Sketch Up and Google Earth

Well, it was an amazing weekend! The Google Geo Institute was simply awesome. HERE is a link to all of the resources from the weekend. We spent most of our time discussing Sketch Up and Google Earth. Also, be sure to check out the hash tag #gti2011 on Twitter for more resources.

Here are some curricular integration ideas shared throughout the experience:
  • Create your own LIT TRIP for students to help them empathize with characters' situations and settings in a story.
  • Have students create 3D models in Google Sketch Up and submit them to the Google Earth 3D building layer.
  • Use Google Sketch Up to help students identify and create 3D shapes.
  • Use the ruler tool (part of labs) in Google Maps to have students answer real life questions about distances and trigonometry measurements.
  • Use the layers in Google Earth to share historical maps, real time earthquake data, tsunami visualizations and MORE.

The number one idea that I took away from the weekend was: MAPS TELL A STORY. If we are using maps to tell stories in our classroom, then it will be a richer learning environment for our students. Capture the story of maps and capture the magic.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reflecting on the Google Geo Teacher Institute

This past weekend was fantastic. I had the opportunity to attend the Google Geo Teacher Institute in Washington, DC. I was surrounded by 50 educators and a variety of experts willing to learn, share, and experience the world through maps. (Yes, that's my first attempt at 3D modeling above!)

Although the "content" of the weekend was geared towards Google Earth and Google Sketch Up, I took away much more.
Every person attending that institute had a passion. A passion that made their work simply a labor of love.

Our institute began with Juan Valdez who shared his life's connection to maps as he immigrated to America during the time of Castro's takeover. Valdez recently finished a stunning new map of Cuba for National Geographic.

It continued with individuals like Jerome Burg, the creator of Google Lit Trips, and Beryl Reid, a super moderler in Sketch Up. These people simply fell in love with creation. The built ideas and projects that touched the lives of many.

Finally, the fellow teachers in my midst exuded passion. They all shared their stories, triumphs, and experiences with technology. Conversations ranged from the practical to the theoretical, and "I love my class" was possibly one of the most popular phrases I heard throughout the weekend.

In short, the experience was an inspiration that recharged my batteries for the Fall season. Thank you to Tina Orduff and Allison McDuffy for their hard work. I was lucky to be there, and I am a stronger educator for it.

Thanks to all!

Check back tomorrow for resources and integration ideas from the sessions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heading Off to Google Geo Institute..Have ??

Tomorrow I will have the unique opportunity to travel to Washington, DC for the Google Geo Teacher Institute. (Thank you to Google for selecting me!)

Here is how Google describes it:
This September, Google is hosting the second Google Geo Teachers Institute. This event is a FREE professional development experience designed to help educators get the most from Google's Geo products and technologies. The Geo Teachers Institute is an intensive, two-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google's Geo products: Google Earth, Google SketchUp, and Google Maps, including Mars, Moon, and Sky in Google Earth. Attendees will learn about innovative instructional strategies and receive resources to share with colleagues. The Google Geo Education team hopes this event will empower educators to bring the world's geographic information to students in a compelling, fresh, and fun way.This is an event only for those who have applied and received notice that they have been accepted to attend.

I cannot wait to learn more about these fabulous tools. Do you have any questions? If so, leave a comment on the blog and I will try my best to find answers for you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Done This: Journaling Tool

I stumbled across this site via a tweet from Daniel Pink. It is called I Done This and it helps you keep track of your accomplishments.

As soon as I saw it, I thought it could be a great "closure activity" in class. Students could take turns logging what they've completed each day. At the end of the year, you could review different days to recognize the progress the class has made.

I also thought it might be a helpful tool for students who need a little extra "push" to get to the next level of learning.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Uncovered Cover Art: Spice Up Guided Reading Responses

Do you need to engage and inspire interesting student responses during guided reading?

If so, Uncovered Cover Art may be on help to you. This blog shares re-invented book covers for popular children's literature. The artwork is simply beautiful.

Some ideas how this site could be used during guided reading:
  • Before reading: What does this cover/artwork tell you about the book?
  • During reading: Why do you think the artist chose to put that scene/item on the cover?
  • After reading: Explain why the artist created the cover in that fashion. Use details from the text.
  • After reading: Have students create their own imaginative covers and submit them to the site OR post on your teacher website.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Word Tamer: Great Writing Tool

Do you begin the year with creative writing or personal narratives?

You will definitely want to check out Word Tamer. This interactive flash-based tool is great for the Smartboard. It helps students develop characters and construct plots. The graphics are incredible and many parts are narrated, making the site very UDL-friendly.

I think this site would provide students with a great "hook" to the creative writing process.

Have fun and engage your students this week! (Thanks to The Whiteboard Blog for sharing this resource.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

GWIGLE: A Game to Teach Search

As you complete the final touches on your classroom and your lesson plans, don't forget to review boolean search tips with your students. For example, the word "and" glues together two terms. The word "or" provides search results that include both terms. You can practice these basic rules with students by using the game GWIGLE. It means "What am I Googling?"


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