Tuesday, February 4, 2014

EdCamp Birmingham

If you haven't had the chance to go to EdCamp, you are missing out!  It's free and it's in Birmingham!  Sign up today!!!  I'll be there!  Will you?


Science of the Olympics

As the winter games approach, here are a few resources for the classroom centered around the Olympics.

TeachersFirst's Resources for the Sochi Olympics- I really liked the article called "Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical".  The kids can hear the duration of the fractions of a second that it took to when a medal.  

List of Brainpop Movies:

Google Tie-In:

Differentiated Instruction- Article

I thought this was a great resource/ article on Differentiated Instruction:


Easier to Read Google Form Responses

Speaking of Tammy Worcester (see previous article)...I found this tip, too!  I have really started using Google Forms a lot this year and the one thing that really bugs me is when you get a lot of data it spreads across pages and pages to the right and doesn't make analyzing the data very easy.  Check out the article below that gives you a formula to transpose the data so your columns become rows and rows become columns to make viewing the data easier.


Google Forms and BatchGeo

If you haven't checked out Tammy Worcester's website, you should!  I went to one of her sessions last year at ISTE and really came away with a lot of great tips!  As I was browsing for teaching ideas, I came across one of her lessons that involved using a Google form to collect information on important locations from a class.  Using the resulting spreadsheet and a website called batchgeo.com, the teacher is able to collect information and then map the resulting cities and states.  See the direct link for the lesson plan here:  http://tammyworcester.com/batchgeo/

I decided to try it out with a classroom at Green Valley this week.  Luckily Mrs. Giles, a third grade teacher, was willing to play with me.  I asked the children to brainstorm a list of important places to them and gave them a few examples from my own life. For each place I moved, I entered in the information into the form pictured below.  The students did the same but they added places where their parents were born and where they liked to vacation.

Using the forms resulting data, I went to batchgeo.com, entered the data in by simply copying and pasting, and voila! our map was created!  When you hover over the live map the information such as the child's name and why the place is important is displayed.

It would be so cool to see what the map would look like for an entire school!  What if you had a live form on your website and people who visited filled out the form?

What types of uses could you see for the classroom?

Accessibility Tools for Windows

You probably already know about these tools.  As a teacher, I knew they were there; I just never used them!  I was helping an instructional support teacher recently and really started to dig in them deeper.  These are accessibility options on any desktop computer running Windows.  To find this menu, I went to the pearl (start circle on lower left-hand side of the screen) and typed in EASE OF ACCESS CENTER.  Here’s a description of what they’ll do:

  • ·         Start magnifier- magnifies what you hover over with your mouse
  • ·         Set up high contrast- for kids with visual issues, changes the whites to blacks and blacks to whites.  To select, click on SET UP HIGH CONTRAST and it tells you the short cut buttons to push. (It’s left alt, left shift, print screen buttons all at the same time.)
  • ·         Start on-screen keyboard- just that; It lays an on-screen keyboard on the screen so the kids can click to select keys.  Useful for kids that have a hard time tracking form the screen down to the keyboard.)
  • ·         Start narrator- reads what is on your screen for non-readers or emergent readers
  • ·         Make the mouse easier to use- sets the sensitivity for the mouse
  • ·         You can go into more details settings by click through the EXPLORE ALL SETTINGS options.