Tag Archives: resource

A National Treasure Of Free And Engaging Resources For All: Podcasts, Simulations, Lessons!

Welcome to the tenth in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. This being the ninth post in the series, be ready for my super post that brings all the sites in this series together. Also, be on the lookout for my upcoming Advanced Google Post and an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series!  Not only that, I f have found a few more tools over the summer that I am anxious to share. Please be sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share this site and its information with others !  I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans), so be sure to follow. Now lets learn about a fantastic site that is really to big to blog! – Mike

If you have been to the Smithsonian in Washington DC you may have been overwhelmed by its size! I guarantee you will be equally impressed with its Smithsonian Education website. In this review I will cover the area of the Smithsonian Website geared for educators. When first entering you will note that the Education Page has a rich host of options including Art and Design, Science and Technology, History and Culture, along with Language Arts. Take a moment and look at the unique lessons provided in each of the areas. Such interesting titles as Making Friends with Franklin , Every Picture Has a Story , How Size Shapes Animals, and What the Limits Are , and The Music in Poetry are just four selections in a large collection of lessons and projects. Easy to use data bases allow teachers to access more than 1,500 rich Smithsonian educational resources that align with grade, subject and specific state standards. The Smithsonian’s new student web links has a wide range of activities, web sites, puzzles, hand outs, and engaging facts. The Idea Lab is filled with interactive activities, videos, and simulations involving the massive Smithsonian collection.  In this area students are in engaged in activities such as  Sizing Up The Universe, they may take a Prehistoric Climate Challenge,  or relive an engaging Apollo 11 Mission of Walking On The Moon,  and they might just  race for answer on a web mission while Digging For Answers. Smithsonian in Your Classroom Magazine includes lesson plans based on primary sources you can view. In keeping with the spirit of Heritage Months, the Smithsonian offers these thematically arranged teaching resources from across the Smithsonian. The resources have been selected for their relevance to classroom curriculum and national education standards. They include Black History, Asian Pacific Americans, American Indian Heritage, Woman’s History, and Hispanic Heritage. In fact you might enjoy visiting the Top Ten Lessons of the month such as :

1.  The Music in Poetry
2.  Teaching with Collections
3.  Every Picture has a Story
4.  The Universe: An Introduction
5.  A Shape-Note Singing Lesson
6.  WWII on the Home Front: Civic Responsibility
7.  Introduction to the Nature Journal
8.  Abraham Lincoln: The Face of A War
9.  Tale of a Whale and Why It Can Be Told
10.  Tomorrow’s Forecast: Oceans and Weather

It should be evident that lessons do cross every grade level and subject. You will find amazing material as you search by subject , standard, and grade level.  There are even lessons about making and using podcasts in the classroom along with an amazing collection of unique podcasts. In the spirit of virtual field trips there are live and archived conferences that allows kids to interact, view sessions, watch a multi media event, and even ask a curator.  Here is an archived example titled, Problem Solving with Smithsonian Experts.  You may want to begin your first Smithsonian  lesson as small as a game about the  Cell, or  expand your classroom to the endless boundaries of the Universe. The Smithsonian  is a great resources, its yours, and its free.   It really is time to bring  national treasures, collections, and resources into your classroom, today!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as the Smithsonian this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! Coming soon… my upcoming Advanced Google Post and an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series! Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki,  follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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Free: Seeing Reason Tool…High Order Thinking, Mapping, And Collaboration!

Welcome to the second in a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The tool I include today is called the Seeing Reason Tool  , one of Intel’s amazing Online Thinking Tools. The description is perfect for those educators wanting their students engaged in 21st Century learning  activities in the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up for future posts via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans) to keep learning!  By the time you finish this post you, will dreaming up activities that will allow your students avenues to see reasons, connections, and relevance in all curricular areas.  Have a great week! – Mike


Seeing Reason Tools – Any collection of related facts is difficult to grasp when expressed by figures in tabular form, but the same may be seen at a glance when presented by one of the many graphic representations of those ideas.” – Gardner C. Anthony; from his book; An Introduction to the Graphic Language

There is no better tool that can promote real thinking than one that allows students to brainstorm and web. Intel describes this tool as one that allows students to “investigate relationships in complex systems, and create maps that communicate understanding”. Simply put, the Seeing Reason mapping tool allows a user to create diagrams or “causal maps.”  These maps allow students to understand the information in the investigation of a problem. This is perfect for Problem, Project, and Inquiry Based Learning.  Students learn to organize the factors that influence or affect a problem, and more importantly show how these factors interact with each other in cause-and-effect relationships. This must see tool supports cycles of investigation allowing students to gather what they know, organize that knowledge base into a map, and then investigate whether their initial concepts are really supported by necessary evidence. The benefits include the five key points allowing students to; think about and talk about their learning, negotiate the meaning of their symbols and make their ideas public, translate from one form of knowledge to another, transfer their knowledge to other cause-and-effect situations, and gain experience in using tools for problem solving.

To better understand the Seeing Reason Tool watch this video and also take a look at this provided demo.  Also, be sure to take a moment to explore Intel’s resources of units . Not only will these units and additional project ideas be excellent resources,  they will also provide other ideas for lessons that integrate the use of this tool. Best of all, Intel has included a private project area for teachers to set up lessons, class lists, and collaborative groups. Students then log in to the secure teacher area. Collaboration can occur from any computer at school or at home. Teachers have the ability to monitor and assess student work on line, and even leave important feedback. Take a moment and explore Seeing Reason, a tool that will apply to any curricular area while enhancing 21st Century Skills.

Thanks for joining me once again on the important journey of transforming education to fit the 21st century. Remember to sign up via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans). I also have hundreds of resources available for free at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Enjoy the week as you introduce new tools that encourage your students to think! – Mike


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It’s Free To Read-Write-Think : A Site That Is More Than Language Arts!

Welcome to another midweek post which I am very excited to share with you. ReadWriteThink is more than just an awesome Language Arts site filled with outstanding resources. It goes beyond Literacy and shows ways to integrating technology to support 21st century learning and core curriculum. For instance, Teaching with Blogs, Teaching with Podcasts, Online Safety, and Reading Online are lessons that many will find useful no matter the core content being taught. Take a moment and check it out, also be sure to follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans), I will do the same and we can learn from each other. You are always welcome to join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki. Have a great week! – Mike   

The web site readwritethink states its mission “to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in Reading and Language Arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.” Its sponsors include the International Reading Association, The National Council of Teachers of English, and Thinkfinity. It is evident that the site is built on professionalism. The site clearly states that every lesson plan has been aligned not only to the IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts but also to each individual state’s standards. Two main areas of the site include Classroom Resources and Professional Development.
Under Classroom Resources there are four main subsections. The impressive collection of **Lesson Plans**contains nearly six hundred classroom ideas all aligned with national and state standards for grades K-12. There is a wide selection of lessons include reading in content areas using textmaster strategies, connecting with an e-pal, creating a biography, writing fractured fairy tales, and exploring fictional technology. Another resource in the Classroom Section is **Student Interactives**. These interactives include some amazing activities to engage children in the classroom. Examples include comic creators, letter generators, story maps, poetry constructors, biocubes, and constructor letters. The **Calendar Resource** is definitely not your everyday calendar. This resource provides events in literary history, authors’ birthdays, and a variety of holidays. Best of all, the calendar is integrated with related activities and resources that make them more relevant to students. The calendar can be viewed by the day, week, or month. The Calendar Resource includes authors/texts, historical figures/events, holiday/school celebrations, and literacy-related events. The **Print Out** Resource Section houses an outstanding selection of printable sheets from assessments to organizers. These Print Outs are all classroom-tested and easy for students and teachers to use. While this is a vast collection, some of the more popular Print Outs include topics such as Diamante Poems, Persuasion Maps, Editing Checklists For Self and Peer Editing, Book Review Templates, Essay Maps, Alphabet Charts, and Tips For Movie Maker.
The second main area includes materials and resources for professional development. The Professional Development area is also divided into four resource areas. The first, Strategy Guides, is perfect if you are looking for new teaching strategies or are just interested in becoming more familiar with strategies you are already using in the classroom. These strategy guides define and provide a wealth of resources to facilitate effective literacy teaching. Three main areas include Differentiating Instruction, Teaching with Technology, and Teaching Writing. My interest in technology caused me to investigate strategies in Online Safety, Reading Online, Teaching with Blogs, and Teaching with Podcasts.
The last of the three areas under presfessional development for the most part include member services, publications for sale, paid webinars, and conference calendars. They include a Professional Library, Meeting and Events, and Online Professional Development. Don’t forget some of the Podcast series such as Chatting about Books. This series chats with kids, parents, and teachers about the best in children’s literature for ages 4 through 11. Another is Text Messages that is aimed at teens. Text Messages is monthly podcast providing educators recommendations they can pass along to teen readers. Each episode features in-depth recommendations of titles that is bound to engage and excite teen readers. Readwritethink is a site that should interest not just language arts teachers but all teachers that focus on writing across the curriculum and technology integration ideas. It is well worth the time to take the opportunity to readwritethink!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and learn. Be sure to return, and as always leave any comments you feel are worth while. You are always invited to  follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans), I will do the same, and we can learn from each other. You are also welcome to join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki  filled with awesome resources!  Have a great week! – Mike

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A Free Resource : A Must For Media Centers and Science Departments

Welcome to another mid-week post that allows me to share what I claim to be “Great Web Catches”. Explore this review of The Encyclopedia Of Life. It is a resource that should be known by every science teacher and available in every media center. Encourage students to explore what will eventual be a  amazing resource of biodiversity and  of all life on earth. – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Imagine a database filled with all the Earth’s living organisms! A site that allows students to search by common or scientific name, shows a text  and graphic  illustration of specific classification, provides “creative commons” pictures,  and displays interactive maps of distribution. In fact, complete detailed physical and behavioral descriptions are included, along with habitats, distribution,  trophic strategies, conservation status, usefulnessand associations. EOL known as The Encyclopedia of Life is an unprecedented global partnership between the scientific community and the general public. The goals of the organization is to make  freely available an online reference and database of all 1.9 million species currently known to science and stay current by capturing information on newly discovered and formally described species. The EOL steering committee consists of  senior advisors from Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum of Chicago, the Marine Biological Conservatory at Woods Hole, the Biodiversity Heritage Libary Consortium, Missouri Botanical Gardens, MacArthur and Sloan Foundations, and over 25 content providers worldwide. There is an excellent web page tutorial providing assistance on how to use the interface and the species pages. The site has even been featured  in this TED Video by site  founder E. O. Wilson of Harvard University. EOL is well on its way of reaching the 1.9 million species listing.

EOL has  also recently launched an exciting education site for teachers and students to explore biodiversity. Some activites include having middle and high school students upload pictures of their area floral fauna and upload images and video to the EOL Flickr Photo Pool. EOL  runs regular image contests, so you can use the contest as extra motivation for your class. Perhaps you may wish to introduce elementary and middle school students to the  Podcast of Life: lively, you-are-there audio segments showcasing science in action. Beginning December 17, 2009, you can download the podcasts.  New podcasts will appear every other week. Learn how middle and high school students can enter the Living on the Ocean Planet Video Contest sponsored by the US-based National Ocean Sciences Bowl. EOL content and images can be used for these and other class projects and winning videos will be posted on EOL. Explore the new EOL NameLink widget to automatically hyperlink species names in any web page to EOL. NameLink will also convert scientific names to common names. To install the widget, drag this link (NameLink this page) to the bookmark bar in your browser (or right-click and add it to your favorites). Elementary and middle school students may wish to Dive into Marine Biology with WhyReef. Developed by EOL cornerstone institution,  The Field Museum in Chicago, in conjunction with the social networking site WhyVille. WhyReef is a virtual coral reef stocked with species that are linked to content on EOL. Have students find out about classification and taxonomy by exploring species’ “family trees” using the classification browser located in the upper right  hand side of every EOL species page. Click here for a lesson plan developed by a teacher using this feature. Have students Explore primary biodiversity literature and illustrations from the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) that are linked to the species pages.  EOL is an awesome project with even bigger possibilities for today’s twenty-first century learners, and it’s free! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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