Big Huge Labs

I don’t know if any of you have had the chance to look at Big Huge Labs before, but it is well worth the visit.  This is a Flickr site so it is image based but as I look at some of the “toys” they provide, I think what a cool way for students to demonstrate their understanding, for example, during the “Explain” portion of an inquiry lesson.

Here are a few of their “toys” and ideas I came up with…

  • Trading Card – Provide information about an individual, concept, or new vocabulary word.
  • Badge Maker – Create a badge about a book character, historical figure, or even maybe a character trait.
  • Movie Poster – Great way to review a book.
  • Magazine Cover – Think about highlighting a concept by providing a magazine cover devoted totally to it.
  • Motivator – Another way to do vocabulary, concepts, or character traits.
  • Map Maker – Chart the path of explorers, westward expansion, the overtaking of empires.
  • Billboard – “If you’ve got something important to say, say it BIG. Billboardize your message and a fabulous photo!”
  • Captioner – Interesting to see if they really understand a character.

There are many more “toys” on this site.  I’m sure there are a lot of other ideas which I would love to hear about.  Let me know what you think and what you would do with these various tools at Big Huge Labs.

Terri Brines is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

A Delicious Way to Bookmark a Website

A colleague recently introduced me to Delicious, an online bookmarking site.  I’d previously been exposed to ikeepbookmarks, but I found the organizational structure of Delicious fit my needs better.

What do I like about Delicious?  Saving bookmarks is ridiculously easy.  My bookmarks are available from any computer with internet access, and my colleagues with Delicious accounts can choose to receive updates every time I add a bookmark.  Best of all, the bookmarks can be searched and I can categorize them any way I choose, nor am I limited by the number of categories, or tags I use.

Once you create a free Delicious account you can choose to add shortcuts to your  menu bar.  If I open a website that I think my colleagues would like, I click on the “tag” icon and enter it immediately.  No more logging into my web page program to copy and paste the link to a subject specific web page.  I’ve removed all those web pages and replaced it with a link to my Delicious account.  Now my colleagues that are in search of subject specific websites for class can access my Delicious account. It’s easier to keep my Delicious bookmarks up-to-date than my web pages, and I can easily remove links that aren’t being used.

I can make some bookmarks private (just for me to view).  The others are public, for teachers and students in my building to access.

Common Craft has created an excellent 3 minute video that explains social networking and shows how to create an account on Delicious.

Bookmarking in Plain English

Create your free account today and see how easy it is to access your information.

Diane McCormack is a PD4ETS graduate and currently a building technology facilitator for Afton Schools here in Missouri. To access Diane’s Delicious bookmarks, click here.

Monday Message and EduBlog Award Nominations

The view from my window makes me long for Thanksgiving past...

Welcome back, everyone! I trust you had a restful if not slightly decadent Thanksgiving break. We are all back and ready for the stretch run at the end of the year. Of course, the weather here in central Missouri is not the most inspiring (see image above), but we will soldier on.

Here are a few announcements from the eMINTS National Center:

Registration for eMINTS Winter Conference 2011 Now Open: Online registration for the 2011 eMINTS Winter Conference is open, now through January 28, 2011 – or until sessions are filled. The Conference dates are Feb. 23-25, 2011 with a new location in at the Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia, MO. This year’s conference offers MORE:  more sessions, more presentations, more pre-conference hands-on workshops and more inspiration from nationally-recognized keynote speakers, Jamie McKenzie and Bernie Dodge. Find details and register online now at: or check out the conference blog at

eMINTS Teacher Presents at National Science Conference: Kelly Taylor year 2 eMINTS teacher from Carnahan School of the Future in St. Louis, MO presented Tools for Data-Driven Biology Teaching at the National Science Teacher Association conference in Kansas City.  Kelly shared how using her WebQuest increased proficiency on specified Course Level Expectations.  Her presentation was based on her eMINTS Training and the graduate work she is doing at Washington University.  To access the conference presentation materials go to

Help for WINDOWS 7 OS and SMART Notebook:  If you are experiencing difficulties with the new Windows 7 Operating System and features of the SMART Notebook Ink Aware programs, a help video from SMART on how to resolve those issues is available at:
The link launches a WMV file with tips for users.

Edublog Award Nominations
The following are not an officially promoted list of sites from eMINTS. These are simply some of the favorite sites of eMINTS staff and deserve nominations for the 2010 Edublog Awards.

Best Group Blog: Edutopia
From the George Lucas Educational Foundation, Edutopia seeks to identify the most innovative teaching strategies and share them with the world. The site is a fantastic resource and features many, many bloggers who freely share the best strategies available to the 21st Century educator. (Shared by Ruth Henslee, eIS)

Most Influential Blog Post:”When Hunches Collide
Kelly Tenkely’s post “When Hunches Collide” is truly inspiring (if not influential). She takes some time to share some of her ideas of how education could be transformed as she dreams of better days being inspired by a TED talk graphic facilitation by Steven Johnson’s summarizing ideas from his book Where Good Ideas Come From. As a person that values interdependence, she puts her ideas out there to “collide” with others and hopefully make something happen. She fully believes in her PLN and what they the changes their ideas together may spark. She is an avid blogger penning Dreams of Education and iLearn Technology a blog she uses to support classroom teachers. She can also be followed on Twitter @ktenkely. (Shared by Brooke Higgins, eIS)

Best Resource Sharing Blog: Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
For my money, there is no better resource sharing blog on the entire web. My Reader fills up daily with updates to past posts as well as a steady stream of new resource lists for current events and trending topics. No site is better for the teacher trying to stay up to date than Larry Ferlazzo’s Website of the Day.
(Shared by Zac Early, eIS)

Best Library/Librarian Blog: Librarian By Day
Transliteracy is a hot topic in the library sciences right now and there is no better place to follow the transliteracy discussion than at Librarian By Day
, the brainchild of blogger/librarian Bobbi Newman. I suggest you add LBD to your RSS feed ASAP in order to keep up with this rapidly advancing literacy movement.

Best Admin Blog: Principally Speaking
Dr. Robert Dillon, a principal in the St. Louis, MO area, provides post after post of inspiration and insight into administrating the 21st Century school with an eye toward technology and student engagement. Check out Dr. Dillon’s Principally Speaking and revive your perspective on education for the December stretch-run. (Shared by Carmen Marty, eIS)

Lifetime Achievement: Bernie Dodge
We at eMINTS would be remised if  we didn’t give credit to the WebQuest guru of gurus, Bernie Dodge. A regular at our annual Winter Conference, Bernie has been an integral part of the eMINTS program with his perspective of the WebQuest guiding many of our teachers to instructional success. For all his great work in educational technology, Bernie Dodge receives a nomination for the Edublog Lifetime Achievement Award. (Shared by Zac Early, eIS)

Are there any other blogs or online educators who deserve a nomination? Feel free to mention some of your own nominations in the comments.

Taking the Week Off

Networked Teaching & Learning is taking the week off. Be sure to check in again next week for more great posts providing all you need to reach 21st Century learners!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

In the meantime, check out the following opportunities:

Online registration for the 2011 eMINTS Winter Conference is open, now through January 28, 2011 – or until sessions are filled.
Conference dates – Feb. 23-25, 2011
Location – Columbia, MO

More in 2011

  • More sessions, more presentations
  • More pre-conference, hands-on workshops
  • More inspiration from nationally-recognized keynote speakers, Jamie McKenzie and Bernie Dodge

New for 2011

  • New tools and ideas to enhance your teaching and learning
  • New location at Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia, MO

Find details and register online now

The following are grant opportunities for educators:

ING Unsung Heroes Award

Each year, one hundred educators are selected to receive $2,000 each to help fund their innovative class projects. Three recipients are then selected to receive additional top awards of $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000. Visit:

Middle and High School Science Teachers

The National Science Teachers Association, the largest professional organization in the world working to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning, and Shell Oil Company have launched a new competition for middle and high school teachers that will bring laboratory resources to school districts across the United States. Through the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge, schools will compete for up to $93,000 in total prizes, including AQUARIUS – : Aquarius may possibly put Gemini under his supervision. a grand-prize school science lab makeover valued at $20,000:

Seven Fund offers Fellowships to K-12 Teachers to Study Solutions to Poverty in Rwanda

The objective of the fellowship is to introduce the concepts of business solutions to poverty within a K-12 curriculum. Winners will be invited to spend two weeks in Rwanda, where they will meet with leaders in the private, public, and education sectors. Individual meetings and trips also will be arranged according to the interests of the winning teachers. For example, a biology teacher might spend time with scientists working in Rwanda”s emerging biotech cluster; an art teacher might travel around the country to study artisan cooperatives specializing in different handicrafts; a journalism teacher might shadow the editor of a major Rwandan publication:

Music Education for Low-Income Students

The NAMM organization has announced the availability of grants through its Wanna Play Fund to provide instruments to schools and community organizations that are expanding or reinstating music education programs as part of a core curriculum and/or that employ quality music teachers.

Eligible applicants are public schools serving low-income students (percentage of free and reduced lunch data required); community organizations serving low-income students and students with special needs (community demographic information required); and schools and community programs that have made a commitment to hiring and retaining high-quality music teachers and providing standards-based, sequential learning in music:

eMINTS and Changing Educational Paradigms

Sometimes I need some proof or theoretical support for what I do as an eMINTS Instructional Specialist. The following video fills this need…

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

Picture 3

Aside from your political leanings, Sir Ken Robinson has some excellent points.

Robinson points out that education is undergoing a massive reform effort. The reform is geared to prepare our students for the economy of the 21st century while maintaining cultural identities in a time of globalization. However, we’re using an approach to learning and instruction that originated in the 18th and 19th centuries. What we need is a system that encourages collaboration and creativity, not traditional academic abilities. This is Robinson’s contention and it matches what we are doing with the eMINTS Instructional model.

Robinson’s assertions support the information and training I am brining to my teachers. And how do we do this at eMINTS? We provide training and support in community-building, cooperative learning, critical thinking, creativity, inquiry, and collaboration all through the use of technology. You can’t get anymore 21st century than that.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. He occasionally blogs at Suppl_eMINTS when not managing Networked Teaching & Learning.

What Really Happened At Thanksgiving?

Looking for a lesson or activity exploring the different perspectives of the first Thanksgiving? Look no further than What Really Happened At Thanksgiving? for an investigation that will engage students and cause them to think critically.

There will be no need for turkeys made from the outlines of our hands or paper pilgrim hats. What Really Happened At Thanksgiving? is a great way to engage students in authentic learning around a holiday event based on historical events. From the Plimoth Plantation, this interactive website takes students through the process of investigating Thanksgiving as historians. Your historians will participate in activities that separate fact from myth, identify and analyze primary resources, make educational guesses using cultural clues, and consider multiple points of view.

Including in this interactive website is a teacher’s guide. The guide provides classroom activities that coincide with online activities. Also included are national social studies standards and other resources. Either use the site for a last minute fill in for those days leading up to Thanksgiving or plan out a more elaborate unit on Native Americans and European colonization of the Americas. This resource is really adaptive to your needs. The ideal grade levels for this resource are 3rd-5th.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center. He currently manages Networked Teaching & Learning while neglecting his own blogs, particularly Suppl_eMINTS.

Google Earth in the Classroom

AntWeb- Google Earth MapWish you could “ travel to cities across the globe, dive into the depths of the ocean, explore remote islands and even fly to faraway galaxies”? You can!

Google Earth allows you and your students to explore the universe. Visit the Google Earth Download page to install Google Earth 5 on your computer. The Google Earth User’s Guide is a great place to learn how to get started. Google Earth Learn allows you and your students to learn skills and practice those by completing challenges.

How will you use Google Earth in your instruction?

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.

Google Earth as a Collaborative Tool

Google Earth is a great way to help students read maps and develop an understanding of geography, but Google Earth can also be a great tool for sharing data during a collaborative project.

Google Earth allows students to add text, data and pictures to a particular location on a map. Locations can be entered into Google Earth using GPS coordinates or simply an address. Descriptions, data and photos can be added to each location.

All of this material can be saved as a kmz file for sharing with others. These files can be opened in Google Earth for display on any computer. Collaboration with students from different geographic areas can be facilitated by uploading the kmz file to a website or portal where participants from different schools can download the file and add their information.

The Google Earth tutorial is a great place to start in learning to add data to Google Earth documents.

The Google Earth Community also has some helpful tutorials.

Many projects that involve examining different geographic locations could be enhanced by using Google Earth. Consider how adding pictures and text to locations on Google Earth might add to a Flat Stanley Project .

Many science investigations could benefit from using Google Earth to record information collected from different geographic locations. The Pathfinder Science Project involves many such investigations.

What about Chewing the Fat ? In this online project, students from different areas collect examples of slang. In the How Much Does it Cost project ,students compare the cost of items in different areas of the world . The ideas are endless.

Do you have other ideas for using Google Earth for sharing information and data?

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.

Monday Message for November 15, 2010

Monday Blues
Happy Monday, everyone! In case you missed last week’s posts, here’s a rundown of the topics covered:

  • Tuesday’s Tool: Chris shared Jing, a great online tool for creating screencasts.
  • Wednesday’s HD Links: Brooke provided a great list of sites for locating royalty/copyright-free images.
  • Thursday’s Teaching Tip: Michelle tipped the idea of using five minute here and there to stimulate higher-order thinking in our students.
  • Friday 4ALL: Carmen shared some great videos from TED, featuring students rethinking education.

For this week, be on the lookout for two posts on getting the most out of Google Earth, a Thanksgiving resource, and an inspirational video on changing educational paradigms. We will take a break Thanksgiving week, but look for us to be back the following week as we carry you through the homestretch to the winter break.

In the meantime, check out this great announcement from Knob Noster:

MO eMINTS Mathematics Student Places in Top 100 in National Mathematics Contest:  Knob Noster (MO) sophomore, Katherine Azbill, placed 98th in the nation in the American Math Challenge held October 27-28. Her teacher, Neva Allen, who has a high school level eMINTS classroom in the Knob Noster district noted that there were 120,000 participants nationwide K-12. For more information about the mathematics contest see:  Information about the competition and about Katherine’s work can be seen in the November 2, Sedalia (MO) Democrat:  <

Students ReThinking Education

We often hear adults sharing how education should or shouldn”t be changed.  We hear politicians and Please be aware location, income, smoking status, family size and age all casino online affect the cost of your health cheap health insurance premium. business people discussing the focus of education.  View and enjoy these videos by students who are rethinking their education.
Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.