Friday, March 21, 2014

Google has a Timer

Need a timer for your classroom?  No need for additional software.  No need for the clock under the document camera.

Just use Google.

In the Google search bar type in "set timer for 5 minutes" and press return, or use whatever time you'd like.

Options include to stop, and go full screen.

When timer is finished, Google will play an alarm.

A perfect easy to use clean tool for your classroom environment.

Monday, March 17, 2014

No Time for Leprechaun Traps?

Did Leprechaun Traps fit into your lesson plans last week?  No?  Why not?  What can students learn from making a leprechaun trap?

It's the perfect project to hit the Four C's; creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, as well as hitting on some key CCSS and teaching engineering and science.  Lots of ideas are on the web, from kindergarten through higher grades.  Here are just a few I came across:

So if you missed out on this year, put it in your plans to revisit for next year.  
Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cue Up Videos Using VideoNotes

Have you taught a class and had plans on using a video for part of the content? Yet the problem was you wanted to use a 30 second clip inside a 20 minute video. Thus, you get it all cued up ahead of time. Without needing to refresh the browser, this ends up working, until you need to repeat the cuing up for the next period.

What is is an online tool that collaborates with your Google Drive, so all your videos and annotated notes are saved in your Google Drive. creates it's own folder in your Google Drive, so you can share your folder, or just a particular notes file, like any other Google Document.

The steps to using this tool are quite easy. Load a video, start watching the video, and when you type a note on the side the time is automatically recorded. Thus, after your video has been noted, you can simply click on any noted line and the video starts playing at that specified time.

Who can use this tool?

This tool can be great for teachers that would like to show portions of videos for a lesson. A teacher can load more than one video in the notes file, and by clicking on the line, the chosen video at that time slot is cued up and ready to play.

An administrator can video a lesson completed by a teacher, then go in and create a notes file shared with the teacher containing comments about what the teacher did positive, and what they need to work on in the future.

A coach can record a game and create a notes file for athletes to watch and learn from what they did or didn't do well.

Finally, have students create a video notes file which contains cues to their research for a particular project, and the teacher would have an easy record verifying student information.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

If It Were My Home - Country Comparisons

      If you are looking for a new spin on doing country research, a new tool for teaching geography. Perhaps your class is discussing a current event and you need to build some background knowledge.  If so,  If It Were My Home would be a great site to visit.  

If It Were My Home will compare any country in the world with the US.  The facts are pulled from the CIA World Fact Book and presented in such a way that it makes the information more visual and engaging.

By choosing a country from the long list on the homepage, If It Were My Home takes the information and compares it to the same statistics in the US.   The visual color of the fact relates to positives or negatives. For example if Chile were your home instead of the US you would consume 73.8% less oil, which is colored green.

Facts can be expanded to give more information and where they gathered the facts from.  This is helpful in explaining how they came up with the data and percentages.  
If It Were My Home also places the map of the country over the geological location of the person researching.  With the image to the right, Chile is placed over the Eastern Oregon region to show a visual size comparison.  This is extremely helpful with younger students.

Below the list of colored facts there is also a short paragraph with more information about the chosen country.   Many times it is more about the history of the country and major issues that the country may have.  Below the more information section is often links to books that are recommended about the country.

Once in a certain country there is also the ability to take that country and compare to another one from the list.  So I can compare life in Chile to life in Argentina.  The same comparisons, data, and maps of the comparison will be generated.  I have to say, this website is addicting!  A note for classroom use, this is a free site and does contain ads once on the comparison page.