Firefox: Organizational Tip – Tab Groups

This was my browser workflow before finding Firefox Tab Groups….

I would be working on, let’s say, a blog post. I would have open multiple browser windows (2-3 usually), each with their own VERY IMPORTANT plethora of tabs, all in some sort of order that made sense in my delusional organization plan. I thought I was organized! With my tons of tabs, in order, in multiple windows, trying to figure out which to bring to the front, where a specific webpage was, and then deciding that they were grouped wrong and then dragging tabs from one window to another. (See mess below)

TooManyWindows

BEFORE

I would drive myself nuts trying to position the windows just right so that I could drag tabs to new windows. It was crushing when I would accidentally close a window FULL of sites to never see them again. Don’t even get me started about the amount of prime property it took up in my dock when all these windows were all minimized. It really was going to be the death of me until…

enter stage right…my savior, my knight-in-shining-armor, my hero ….Firefox Tab Groups. I had the webpage with instructions in an open tab for more than a month before adding it to my “EXPLORE” list in my Outlook ToDo list. It took me a few more months before I had a week this summer to do some R&D and get back to that “EXPLORE” list.

It was AMAZING, I read the instructions and made a couple of quick clicks, typed in a couple of names, and turned that crazy mess of windows and tabs into THIS (see below). It became a beautifully organized, gathering of websites sorted into groups of small images with titles all in ONE window. Ahhhh, sweet organization!

PinnedTabinGroups

AFTER

How to Tame the BEAST: It’s pretty simple to set up, but the directions from Firefox didn’t work exactly as stated on the website under the “How do I create a tab group?” section. What I did was first add a couple of tabs, then selected “Customize” toolbar from the View>Toolbars drop-down menu.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 4.34.12 PM

From there it was a piece of cake. I created new groups by double-clicking in the gray area to add a new tab in a new group. Then i named my groups by hovering over a group until the “Name this group” text field showed up (where you seem my “Work – Must Do” title) and then I typed in the name I wanted. Named Tab GroupThen I dragged the existing tabs around to the appropriate group and resized the group areas so that I could see a larger or smaller image of the tabs to help me identify them. I have 3 main groups, 2 for work and 1 personal group.PinnedTabinGroupsWhen I am ready to start browsing I click on the tab I want front and center, notice all of the other tabs in that group are available in the same window. When I want to get back to view all the tab groups I just click the “Group Your Tabs” button in the top right corner of the Firefox window. TabGroupsIconYou should practice going back and forth between tabs and groups but be careful because when it asks if you are sure you want to close the windows it means all of your Firefox windows.

DontCloseWindowsThere are a few additional features such as searching and saving resources for reviewing later using Pocket. These instructions, and more, can be found on the Use Tab Groups Mozilla Support Page. All images captured by Brooke Higgins.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

Common Core State Standards Tidbits: Episode 2

After the webinar I overviewed in CCSS Tidbits – Episode 1, I did some additional research to gather more information about the CCSS.  Below is a collection of links that you might find helpful as you move forward with your Common Core implementation.  I have also linked to this great infographic on becoming a Common Core Ninja!  For anyone interested, I am working on pulling together some resources for developing and using infographics in the classroom, so stay tuned!

Resources:
 
Explanation of the Standards
This is a sample document that shows how the standards are broken down, which grade levels teach to the standard, the DOK level of the standard, what it might look like in the classroom, and much more.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full copy of the book for free, however, you can get a full copy from Amazon.com.
The North Carolina State Board of Education has developed a site with a great deal of resources, including an explanation of the standards “unpacked.”  They also have tool for implementing the standards.
ASCD has pulled together several great resources that provide an explanation of the CCSS as well as tools to help teachers implement.
If you’re a visual learner like me, you will love LearnZillion’s visual representation of the standards!
COREpedia is a resource tool to assist you in the understanding and implementation of the Common Core State Standards
Teacher Professional Development
This site is AMAZING!  They have a great deal of videos that will help teachers implement the common core   standards.
Pearson has done an excellent job at developing some top notch professional development resources! Teachers can watch webinars, they can access practice tests, find information for ELL students, and learn about rigor, instruction, assessment and much, much, more!
Classroom Tools / Resources
This is a nice collection of common core resources for 5th grade.
An CCSS integration tool that allows you to plan and track standards in your lesson plans.
“We Are Teachers”  has a nice collection on Pinterest for Common Core including great visuals, infographics, and other images.
This is a comprehensive site for all things Common Core including curriculum, assessments, PD, Videos, and tons more!
Curriculum Alignment
This sight helps schools ease the transition into Common Core.  They have excellent explanations of the   shifts taking place in both math and ELA.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills has additional information and resources on how to align to the CCSS and meet the needs of our 21st century learners.
Scholastic has pulled together some really great lesson plans, glossary of terms for teachers, Nonfiction & Literature lists, info on assessment, and professional development tools for teachers.

Jen Foster is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist and blogger. Check out her blog at eMINTS Classroom Strategies where she shares her thoughts on learning theories, teaching tips and strategies, practical classroom applications, and reflections on her journey to continue learning. This post was originally published on August 5, 2013.

Common Core State Standards Tidbits: Episode 1

I recently listened to a webinar provided by edWeb and Follett about the Common Core.  Common Core: High Impact Planning was an excellent, and highly informative webinar.  I have linked the recording so you can listen to it yourself, but I also wanted to give you the highlights in the form of my notes. Any educator will gain a great deal of information from this webinar, but it was specifically targeted to administration.

  • The goal of Common Core State Standards is College and Career Readiness.  The question we need to ask ourselves is “How can we reach ALL kids, and help them achieve the goal of CCSS?”
  • Common Core goals were set by companies, corporations, higher education, military, etc.

Students should be able to:

    • Understand concepts and new developments in science and technology
      • This is one of the most important new skills in light of our world that is data-driven!
    • Analyze and solve complex problems.
      • Real-world problems are complex, so we need to engage students in real-world complex problems to prepare them for life after high school.
    • Apply knowledge and skills to real-world settings.
    • Use critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills
      • We no longer have to memorize information.  We have access to all the world of knowledge at our fingertips.  Instead we have to focus on how to navigate through the world of information, think through it, and analyze it.
    • Effectively communicate orally and in writing.
      • Students must be prepared to communicate, and must practice often, especially in the use of electronic communications!

Being Prepared:

  • We need to begin to prepare our stakeholders for the change.  Test scores will go down, because CCSS have raised the bar.
  • We must “stretch” our students Lexile scores by 2-3 grade levels from what they are reading now.
    • Reading is a national security issue because 75% of our high school graduates cannot join the armed services because they cannot read well enough to pass the test!
    • There are a great deal of welding jobs currently available, but we cannot fill those jobs because we cannot find young people that can read the technical manuals required for the job training.
    • Students are leaving college early, and in considerable more debt because they are have to take remedial reading and math course to bring their skills up the level necessary.
    • Libraries will need to be reconfigured to provide students with the books they need to meet the new lexile requirements.

Lesson Design and the Common Core:

  • Recipe to align units and lessons with CCSS assessments
    • 2 Anchors (ELA Standards) or Practices (Mathematical Practices)
    • 3 – 5 Content Standards (this adds complexity)
    • 2 Questions: DOK 1 / Bloom’s 1-2
    • 2 Questions: DOK 2 / Bloom’s 3-4
    • 2 Questions: DOK 3 / Bloom’s 5-6
    • Write 1 (short write focused on comprehension or in math focused on fluency)
    •  Essay 2 (longer writing piece)
  • Only 86% of the standards will be tested

Content Areas:

  • Math
    • 7th & 8th Grade (these grades contain the critical skills necessary for students to move through high school and into college!)
    • All about fluency of basic math skills
    • Even the simplest math problems on the CCSS assessments will require a great deal of reading.  Students will be required to read multiple types of texts to solve one problem.
    • Performance Events will take approximately 2 – 2.5 hrs., will revolve around a real world problem, students will read, and analyze multiple types of texts to gather information to determine the type of problem that needs to be solved, what data is needed to solve the problem, and then actually solving the problem.  Students need to learn how to do all these things and PERSEVERE throughout the entire event!
  • ELA
    • Writing, Vocabulary, Argument
    • Student writing skills must be improved (this is critical!)
    • To expand vocabulary students need to read materials at a wide range of ability (low, medium and high)
    • Content needs to be presented in multiple formats (text, multimedia, video, real-world, literature and non-fiction)
    • School leaders should constantly have conversations about reading data!
      • Know the starting level of each student
      • Ask the questions:
        • What does the data say?
        • How are the students growing?
        • How do we know?
        • What are we doing about it?
        • Are students reading non-fiction in our libraries?
    • Connect lit studies to non-fiction
      • Example – A teacher loves to engage students in a lit study of Huckleberry Finn.  The students read about Huckleberry pies, they eat pie, they study Mark Twain, and read the novel Huckleberry Finn.  To engage the students in a more complex, more in-depth study, the teacher could have the students read a non-fiction work on the Mississippi River and learn of the changes that have taken place over time.  The students could then engage in a conversation as to how the story Huckleberry Finn might have changed because of the difference in the river system.
    • Students should be writing a lot and often (4 – 5 pages weekly for some grade levels)
      • Writing should be for an authentic audience
        • Traditional prompt: What did you do over the summer?
        • CCSS Style prompt: Write an paper (blog, wiki, etc) to convince me of where I should vacation next summer!
        • Use technology! Write on the computer, publish often!
        • Use a thesaurus (students need to consider word choice in written communication)
        • Follow the NAEP writing requirements

Overall this was an excellent webinar!  The next installment of this series Common Core & Back to School – Issues for the Upcoming Quarter is August 23rd at 1:00 pm central time.  If you can’t attend, no worries, they record the sessions :)

Jen Foster is an eMINTS Instructional Specialist and blogger. Check out her blog at eMINTS Classroom Strategies where she shares her thoughts on learning theories, teaching tips and strategies, practical classroom applications, and reflections on her journey to continue learning. This post was originally published on July 25, 2013.

Comedians and Life Lesson’s

Life lessons and aha moments come at unexpected times. Yesterday, as I ate lunch, I watched the first episode in Jerry Seinfeld’s newest project called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I loved the Seinfeld show and continue to try and see Jerry Seinfeld in action.

Click image for source.

Click image for source.

The gist of this new show is that Jerry selects a car based on his “guest”, picks them up, they travel around catching up, and eventually stop for coffee. In this episode, he was catching up with his Seinfeld show friend, Michael Richards. As I listened, they began talking about the success of the show and their craft. At that point in the conversation Michael started to cut himself down saying he studied too hard and should have been more relaxed about preparing. He implied that others had fun and he didn’t because he felt that preparing took so much practice. Immediately, Jerry stopped him and said, “I don’t accept the judging of process.” He continued by stating, “we are all trying to get to the same island.” He then finished with, “what matters is when the red light comes on” … “our job is to make sure they enjoy it”. Jerry and Michael go on to talk about how it’s about working selflessly not selfishly and the importance in remembering that.

That is teaching in a nutshell…selfless not selfish. Our goal, as teachers, is to leave kids in a better place than when we get them. Each teacher has to prepare in the way that makes him or her feel ready to “perform”, to put on the best show possible. As I have reflected back on what I heard them say, I have wondered…in what ways might we support our-self and others in doing just that? And more importantly, how can we build each other up and not tear each other down with judgment as we all work to achieve that same goal? How can we be a positive influence and not a negative influence?

What I choose to take from this conversation is this: we each have to do what we feel we have to do to prepare, we must respect that in ourselves and others, and we must presume positive intentions of others, because we all have the same audience and the same goal. That audience, those kids, deserve our very best. Parents, communities, and the world are depending on us. We are all here for the same reason doing what we can. As Maya Angelou said, “When we know better we do better.” We are all doing best we know how.

So as many of you, my friends, go back to begin a new year with students, my hope is that you take care of yourself, you take care of each other, and give the kids the best experience possible. Make sure they enjoy the journey you get to share with them.

*Coincidentally, I heard about Comedians in Cars Having Coffee on NPR as I drove home from some class visits last spring, and yes, it took me this long to get back to it. I will be watching the rest of the episodes. Who knows what else I might learn.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

eMINTS Weekly Update – 9/18/12

eMINTS Investing in Innovation (i3) Project to be Featured:

We are pleased to report that the eMINTS Investing in Innovation (i3) project awarded in August 2010 will be visited by Tony Miller, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Education and Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement on Wednesday, September 19, 2012. The day will start with a Round Table including principals and superintendents whose districts are part of the project. The University of Missouri TelePresence system will be used to connect participants in Columbia with those in Kansas City and St. Louis. Following the Round Table, Assistant Deputy Jim Shelton will visit our lead mentor district, New Franklin, to see eMINTS in action. We will share any photos and news stories about the site visit on the eMINTS website.

New & Updated eThemes for the week of September 17, 2012

New eThemes

Author Study: Herman Melville
Learn about Herman Melville and his books. Melville was a prominent novelist, short story writer, and poet of nineteenth century America. Included are links to sites about the writer’s life and the following works: “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” “Moby Dick,” “Billy Budd,” “The Confidence Man,” and “Typee,” as well as his poetry. There are eBooks, a lesson plan, a quiz, and discussion questions.

Updated eThemes

Amish People, Life, and Culture
These sites describe the day-to-day life of the Amish culture. Learn about their history and beliefs. Some sites include recipes or instructions for making crafts. Most sites include images.

Animals: Opossums
Learn about the only marsupial living in North America – the Virginia opossum. Find out what the opossum’s name means. Learn about the animal’s habitats, diet, behavior, reproduction, and predators. Read people’s misconceptions regarding the animal and find out why opossum live only up to three years in wild and eight in captivity. Includes photographs, images of tracks, coloring pages, and video files.

Author Study: Robert Frost and Modern American Poets
These resources are about the poet Robert Frost and his contemporaries. You will find biographical information, full-text poems, audio files, images, and lesson plans. Included are sites about other modern American poets such as Carl Sandburg, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams. Included are three related eThemes resources on poetry.

Career Cluster: Architecture and Construction
Find out what careers are included in the architecture and construction career cluster. Learn about the careers, what kind of training they require, and what the working conditions are for architects and construction workers. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration, career interest assessments, and architecture.

Career Cluster: Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications
Explore these websites to learn what careers are included in the art, audio-video, and communications career path. Includes information about careers in music, writing, fashion design, and more. There are links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Business, Management, and Administration
Find out how to get involved in business, management, and administration. These websites detail the occupations available and career information such as education needed, salary, and job growth information. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Education and Training
These websites are about the career path of education and training. Find out which careers are in the career cluster. Read about the careers and how you can enter them. There are links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Health Science
Find out about the careers available in the health sciences career cluster. Includes information about education needed, working conditions, salaries, and more. There is a video about the kind of work health care workers do. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Hospitality and Tourism
These websites are about the career oppurtunities available in the hospitality and tourism industry. Learn what this career path is about and learn about some of the careers featured. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Human Services
Find out about the careers available in the human services career cluster. Includes information about education needed, working conditions, salaries, and more. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration, the psychology of personality development, and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Information Technology
These websites are about the occupations in information technology. Many of the careers are computer-related. Read about the various careers and the skills and education required for each career. There are links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security
Explore these Web sites to learn what careers are included in the law, public safety, corrections, and security career cluster. Includes information about careers as lawyers, police officers, firefighters, conservation agent, and more. There are links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Marketing, Sales, and Service
These websites are about careers in marketing and sales. Find out which occupations are included in the career cluster and how you can get started in the industry. Includes links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Career Cluster: Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
Find out about career opportunities in transportation, distribution, and logistics. Includes information on a variety of careers from taxi cab driver to airplane pilot. There are links to eThemes on career exploration and career interest assessments.

Geography: Middle Atlantic Region
These sites have information about the following Middle Atlantic states: New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Learn about each state’s symbols, major industries, history, natural resources, and more. There are links to eThemes Resources on the thirteen colonies and New England.

Literature: “Birchbark House” by Louise Erdrich
These sites are about the book “Birchbark House,” and features a Native American family living on the frontier. The book has been compared to the “Little House” series. The main characters are part of the Ojibwe (also called Chippewa) tribe. Included are a book summary and book talk, and discussion questions. Historical information about the Ojibwe tribe and a brief video on making a birch bark canoe is provided.

Literature: Award Winners
These sites are about children’s and young adult’s literature awards. Includes information about several awards such as the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, Michael L. Printz, Best Books for Young Adults, and more. Learn about the history of the awards and see the winners from the current and previous years. eThemes on the Show Me, Building Block, Gateway,Truman and Mark Twain award winners are included.

Missouri: Famous People
Learn about famous Missourians both living and deceased including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Walt Disney, Samuel Clemens, and Daniel Boone. There is a Missouri person WebQuest, a video on Samuel Clemens, and a link to an eThemes Resource on famous Missouri women.

Missouri: Geography and Landforms
These sites are about the different geographical regions and natural resources in Missouri. Learn about the Ozarks, the Ozark border, glaciated plains, Osage plains, and Mississippi lowlands. Includes classroom activities, plus videos from the Missouri Heritage series. There are links to eThemes Resources on Missouri maps, rivers, and regions.

Nevada: State Facts
Learn about the state of Nevada regarding state symbols, wildlife, economics, and history. Find out the history behind the state symbol, myths, and truths about the state. Includes radio clips, illustrations, printable worksheets, games, and a quiz. There is a link to eThemes resource on Nevada state flag.

Olympic Games: Winter 2006
These are sites about the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino (Turin)Italy. Learn about the different sporting events that take place during a Winter Olympiad, read news stories, or athlete’s biographies. There are games, quizzes, videos, and classroom activities. Included are eThemes resources about Olympic history, athletes and records, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and the 2006 host country of Italy.

Parts of a Book: Nonfiction
This resource provides several informational websites related to parts of a nonfiction book. Includes topics such as glossary, index, table of contents, and key words. There are games, exercises, presentations, and lesson plans. Also includes a link to an eThemes resource on writing nonfiction.

Poems and Songs: Rivers and Ponds
These sites are a collection of songs and poems for elementary students. The songs and poems are related to animals living by, habitats in, and activities on rivers and ponds. Lesson plans, samples of songs, and history of river songs are included. There are links to eThemes resources on Habitat: Ponds and Lakes, Poetry: Simile and Figurative Language, Poets and their Poetry, and Writing: Poetry.

Poets and their Poetry
These sites feature authors who write poetry for children. Includes biographies of poets and examples of their work. Learn about Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Sara Holbrook, Edward Lear, and other poets. Included are eThemes Resources on writing poetry, figurative language, and poems and songs about rivers and ponds.

Reading Skills: Following Directions
These sites can help teachers develop lesson plans that incorporate the specific skills of following directions. One site has an interactive game for first graders.

Safety: Winter
These sites provide safety information during winter season. Includes safety tips for winter outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and bicycling. Also recommended action for hypothermia, frostbite, and snow blindness. There are activities and lesson plans on safe practices and what to do when stuck in the car. There are links to eThemes Resources on Season: Winter and Natural Disasters: Avalanches and Blizzards.

Schools of the Future
What will the school of the future be like? School buildings of the future may look completely different or they may not exist at all. The virtual reality classroom may replace the traditional classroom. Some states already have distance learning for high school students. Is distance learning part of future schools? Included are two links to eThemes resources on schools of the past.

Science: Dinosaurs
Learn more about the types of dinosaurs that roamed the earth years ago. Find out which dinosaurs were in your area, watch videos about these creature, and create your own dinosaur artwork. Includes 3D images, games, and quizzes. There is a link to an eThemes Resource on fossils.

Science: Fossils
These sites focus on fossils and include information about paleontologists, dinosaurs, and petrification. View photographs of actual fossils. Includes a link to an eThemes Resource on dinosaurs.

Science: Oceanography
These sites include information on the topography of the ocean floor and life in the ocean. Sea floor spreading, plate tectonics, and underwater volcanic activity are topics found on several of the sites. Many sites have photographs, maps, and videos. Included are two eThemes resource sites for younger grades, one on the geography of the ocean and the other on creatures of the ocean.

Science: Scientific Classification
Learn about the taxonomy of living things and the seven life processes carried out by living organisms: support, reproduction, digestion, transportation, circulation, excretion, and response. Included are many eThemes resources on microbes, living things, human anatomy, and plants.

U.S. Court of Appeals
These sites contain resources to help students understand how the Court of Appeals System works and how it relates to other types of courts. There are tutorials, basic information about the courts and judges, links to court publications, and databases of statistical information and important court decisions. Includes a link to eTheme resources on the judicial branch of government.

U.S. President: Theodore Roosevelt: Part I
Learn about the 26th American President – Theodore Roosevelt. Discover the president as a son, father, husband, naturalist and conservationist, newyorker, and a war hero. Learn about his hobbies, outdoor adventures, and his nature conservation policies. Includes audio and video clips, timelines, photographs, quizzes, and biographies. There are links to eThemes topics on the President Theodor Roosevelt’s politics, American and foreign policies, Spanish war, and United States presidents.

U.S. President: Theodore Roosevelt: Part II
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president and served from 1901 until 1909. Find out about his political views and domestic policies. Learn about the Bull Moose Party and the presidential election campaign of 1912. Includes the presidential inauguration transcript, photographs, audio and video files. There are links to eThemes resources on Theodor Roosevelt’s personal life and nature preservation policies, his foreign policies; and a link to United States Presidents.

Utah: Habitat: Forests
Learn about Utah’s forests and where they can be found. See a map of the various habitats in Utah, watch a video about controlled forest fires, and learn which plants and animals live in Utah’s forests. There are links to related eThemes on trees, forests, and Utah animals.

Teaching Tips: Online Assessments
Teachers can explore these sites for online assessment tools. Some sites are free and some require a payment after a 30 day trial period. Many sites have pre-written assessments that students can take and then data is provided back to the teacher. On other sites teachers can input their own questions and answers, and assessments will be scored and data provided to the teacher. Included is a link to an eThemes resource on writing assessment tools.

Math: Surveys, Tables, and Graphing
These sites have definitions of survey, poll, mean, median, and mode. Find out how to take simple surveys and opinion polls. Includes lesson plans and in-class activities for collecting and organizing numerical and statistical data. There are links to eThemes Resources on how to create and use various types of graphs.

Monica Beglau is the Executive Director of the eMINTS National Center.

To Tweat or Not to Tweat

So Twitter can have value to learning in the classroom, but how?

We’re studying rocketry and just getting started with blogging and tweeting this year.  I wanted to demonstrate how we could reach out to experts.  So, I asked what questions we had for Astronaut Clay Anderson.  A student was curious about what Zero G feels like.  We tweeted and later that day, students were thrilled to see we had received a tweet back.  One simple exchange.  We had just exchanged a message with an astronaut.

It made me wonder, what about other fields? Meteorology. Zoology. Geology.  How would I find these experts?  Then, I came across a list “100 Scientists on Twitter: Organized by Category.”   What if Twitter is not just a tool to connect with other classrooms, but to connect with experts in the field? Powerful.

So, you might be wondering, how do I get started?

Want to have a classroom chat that kids can have individual accounts in a small, classroom environment? Allow kids to start out with a version of Twitter that is only available in your classroom? Try Twiducate.  At the end of the day, ask every student to tweet what they’ve learned.  Twitter allows you to share with the world, Twiducate allows your kids to share with each other.

Want to work with your kids to develop Social Media Norms?  Have a class discussion about what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to share.  Build a classroom community where kids support each other.  Whether sending a tweet from a classroom account on Twitter, or an individual account on Twiducate, help students understand that if you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded shopping mall, you shouldn’t share it on social media!  Post the norms.  Watch how kids take ownership in what they’ve decided upon as their norms.

Wondering how you will fit in time to tweet?  You may be thinking, I don’t have time to add one more thing to my classroom.  Ask one kid to take on the role each day or week.  Give him or her a “Media” badge.  Allow him to share what’s happening, 140 at a time.

Thinking about how you will find other classrooms that tweet?  Don’t worry!  I’m building a Twitter list.  Pick one or two to get started with.  You don’t have to follow hundreds of classrooms to get started.  Start small. Chat with a class in Australia or Illinois or your own school.

This is the second in a series of posts on using Twitter in the classroom.  Next up, five ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 9, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

eMINTS Weekly Update – 9/10/11

Digital Learning Day 2013

Sign Up Now for Digital Learning Day 2013: Save the date – February 6, 2013 – for the second annual Digital Learning Day. DLD is a national advocacy and awareness day to celebrate teachers who successfully use instructional technology in classrooms across the US. There are so many ways to participate and interesting Town Hall Meetings to participate in. There are also interactive lesson plans and other resources. Activities and events will be shared in upcoming Weekly Updates. Check out the first-ever DLD “Back to School Olympics” that started Monday, August 20.

eLearning for Educators

Don’t forget to check out the new eLearning for Educators online professional development courses for fall semester at: http://www.elearningmo.org/register/fall-2012/ eLearning courses are available to educators across Missouri and in all other states. New courses include “Flipped, Upside-down, and Blended Instruction for the K-12 Classroom” and “Going Mobile K-12: Capturing the Power of Smart Phones, Tablets, Apps, and More.” Many of the standard favorites are also available including “Classroom Management,” “Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School,” and “Google Tools for Schools.” Courses cost $150 per person and graduate credit is available for an additional $100 per credit hour. Registration closes on September 19. Courses begin October 3 and conclude by November 20. Start your registration process today! For more information about eLearning for Educators see the website at: http://www.elearningmo.org/

eMINTS Conference 2013

eMINTS Annual Conference Dates Set: Hold the dates for the annual eMINTS Conference set for February 27 through March 1, 2013 in Columbia, MO. The Call for Proposals will be coming out soon so watch for the opportunity to submit a presentation proposal for the Conference. Peruse the presentations and resource materials provided by presenters from the 2012 Conference at: http://www.emints.org/conference-2012/presentation-materials/

Edutopia Features eMINTS

Edutopia: In case you missed it, Hartville Elementary (MO) and eMINTS Comprehensive Professional Development were featured on the Edutopia section called “Schools That Work” at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/stw-tech-integration-professional-development is still available. The site also includes lesson plans and other resources for teachers, professional development specialists and other to use in the integration of technology into the classroom. The video does an excellent job of explaining eMINTS from the perspective of professional development.

New & Updated eThemes for the week of September 10, 2012

Updated eThemes

Animals: Working Dogs
These sites are about working dogs. There is information about the different kinds of jobs that dogs have. There are printable worksheets, a slideshow, video files, and interviews with people who work with these specially trained dogs. Several eThemes resources are included on dogs, guide dogs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernard’s, and the Iditarod.

Careers: Non-Traditional
What are non-traditional careers? The answer depends on whether you are a man or a woman. These sites explore non-traditional careers. Included are career lists, movies, audio files, and games. There are two eThemes resources on careers also included.

Country: Estonia
These sites are about Estonia. Learn about the people, history, culture, government, and natural environment of this small Baltic nation. There are facts, maps, and photos. Students can listen to a recording of a native bird’s song, hear the Estonian National Anthem, and watch a short movie about the Setu, an ethnic minority in Estonia. Included is an eTheme about Russia.

Famous Americans: Asian Connections
These sites focus on famous Americans who have Asians connections. Learn about their contributions, achievements, and biographies. Includes photos, interview transcripts, and video clips.

Famous Americans: North American Connections
These websites are about famous people from North America. There are actors, entertainers, scientists, and athletes, as well as general biographical research sources. Included are eThemes resources on famous African Americans and famous Latin Americans.

Famous People: Galileo
Galileo was a scientist and an inventor. He did not invent the telescope but he certainly improved it. Learn who Galileo was and what he invented on these sites. Included are eThemes on the Hubble telescope, inventions, and Copernicus.

Famous People: Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, and inventor. On these sites, you can learn about his life, work, ideas, and the times in which he lived. You can read his biography, see his artwork, sketchbooks, or take a virtual tour of his studio. Included is an eThemes resource on the Renaissance, Artists, and Simple Machines.

Geography: Five Themes of Geography
Developed by the National Council for Geographic Education in 1984, the five themes of geography are Location, Place, Human-Environment Interactions, Movement, and Regions. These websites have definitions of each of the five themes, lesson plan ideas, and resources for exploring individual themes in depth. Includes an eThemes resource on absolute and relative location.

Health: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
These sites are about Sexually Transmitted Diseases. There is information on signs and symptoms of different STDs, how STDs are transmitted from person to person, how to prevent STD transmission, and which diseases are most common. Includes statistics on how many people worldwide are infected and the number of U.S. population diagnosed with the disease. There is also information on prevention and testing. Includes an interactive tutorial, a lesson plan, and a link to an eThemes Resource on AIDS/HIV.

History of Computer Technology and the Internet
These Websites are about the evolution of computer technology and the Internet. Read about the history of computing machines, early programmers, and the origins of information technology. Included are video files, interactive games and quizzes, timelines, exhibits, and more. Included are three related eThemes resources.

History of Spices
These sites focus on the history of spices. There is information on the spice trade route, the discovery of spices, origins of spices, and benefits of spices. Includes a spice encyclopedia, timelines, and lesson plans.

Holiday: Day of the Dead
These websites are about Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration, a holiday to honor loved ones who have died. Here you can find many craft and activity ideas, informative articles, pictures, and videos about the Day of the Dead. Included are two eThemes resources about Mexico.

Hot Air Balloons
These sites are about hot air balloons. Learn about wind currents and other principles that affect the balloons. Watch a video clip of students making balloons. There is a balloon cam and several hands-on activities.

Library Skills: Wikipedia in Student Research
These websites are about information literacy, with particular emphasis on Wikipedia and its role in student research. There are interactive tutorials, articles, and ideas for class activities.

Literature: “A Jar of Dreams” by Yoshiko Uchida
These sites are about Yoshiko Uchida, her book “A Jar of Dreams,” and the Japanese American internment camps during WWII. Included are eThemes resources on graphic organizers, Japan, and the decade of 1930-1939.

Literature: “So B It” by Sarah Weeks
These sites are about Sarah Weeks and her novel “So B. It.” There is also information on phobias and mental retardation. Included are eThemes resources on genealogy and story elements.

Literature: “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller
These sites for high school students are focused on the Salem witch trials and “The Crucible.” Was Arthur Miller’s play historically accurate? Seventeenth century New England is explored and there are also some sites for teachers. Maps, videos, and audio files are found to explain the happenings at Salem in 1692.

Literature: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
These websites are about the book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and author Harper Lee. There are lesson plans, study guides, and vocabulary resources. Learn more about the history of racial discrimination in the United States, Jim Crow laws, and the Great Depression. Includes historical documents, photographs, and video clips. There are links to eTheme resources on the Civil Rights Movement and the 1930′s.

Math: Visual Arts
These websites are about the importance of math to the visual arts. There are many lesson plans and activities where students can create artwork based on mathematical concepts such as pattern, symmetry, geometry, and perspective. Included are eThemes resources on pattern and tessellations.

Matter: Mass and Weight
What is the difference between mass and weight? Find out by using these sites. Includes lesson plans, classroom activities, and animation. There are eThemes resources on metric measurement, gravity, properties of matter, and phases of matter (gas, liquid, and solid).

Middle Ages: A Non-European Perspective
These sites contain information on the societies and cultures that existed outside of Europe during the time period known as the Middle Ages. Students can learn about African Kingdoms such as Ghana and Mali, the Asian Empires of Mongolia and Angkor, the Dynasties of Imperial China, and more. There are timelines, maps, articles, and pictures. Included are eTheme resources for additional information on China and the contemporary societies of North America.

Missouri: Endangered Animals
Learn which species are endangered in Missouri and how they are determined to be endangered. Read descriptions of different species and their environment. Click on a map of Missouri to find endangered animals by county in the state. Includes eThemes resources on endangered species.

Monica Beglau is the Executive Director of the eMINTS National Center.

Sign-up Now for eLearning Fall 2012 Courses

Don’t forget to check out the new eLearning for Educators online professional development courses for fall semester at: http://www.elearningmo.org/register/fall-2012/ eLearning courses are available to educators across Missouri and in all other states.

New courses for this semester include “Flipped, Upside-down, and Blended Instruction for the K-12 Classroom” and “Going Mobile K-12: Capturing the Power of Smart Phones, Tablets, Apps, and More.” Many of the standard favorites are also available including “Classroom Management,” “Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School,” and “Google Tools for Schools.”

Courses cost $150 per person and graduate credit is available for an additional $100 per credit hour. Registration closes on September 19. Courses begin October 3 and conclude by November 20. Start your registration process today! For more information about eLearning for Educators see the website at: http://www.elearningmo.org/

Brought to you by the bloggers for the eMINTS National Center.

I Tweat. Therefore, I Learn

I Tweet.
I tweeted one request, “Please share your location and current outdoor temperature with my class today.”   Throughout the day, the tweets poured in from Australia, Sweden, Spain, New Jersey, Brazil, and the list goes on.  As I shared with students, they looked at the temperatures and their questions reminded me that using Twitter as a connection point with the world has true value for learning.

  • Why are some of the temperatures being reported in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit?
  • How do I convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit? Is there a formula for that?
  • Why is it so cold in Australia right now?
  • What time is it in Sweden?
  • They just said “Morning”, what time is it there?
  • Can we put these on a map so we can see how much of the world we covered?
  • How do I pin something on a Google map?

Time zones. Patterns. Data. Metric System. Weather. Google map creation. Geography. Continents. Temperature conversion. Collaboration. The world.  Learning.  From one tweet.

I’m not saying that tweeting automatically equals learning.  But, look what happens when tweeting (or any tech tool!) is used in the classroom to connect.  Real thinking and learning.  The kind where kids deepen their understand of the world around them.

This is the first in a series of posts.  Next?  The day we tweeted an astronaut and he tweeted us back. For real. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 8, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

eMINTS Weekly Update

eLearning for Educators: Fall Semester Registration Underway: eLearning for Educators fall registration is now open until Wednesday, Sept. 19.The Fall 2012 semester is from Oct. 3 ? Nov. 20, 2012. Register online now. Cost: $150 per course. Graduate Credit (optional): additional fee of $100 per credit hour available through the University of Missouri-Kansas City or University of Missouri-St. Louis. A limited number of scholarships are available. To apply for a scholarship that reduces the cost of an e-Learning course to $75, go to the eLearning Scholarships and Discounts page and fill out the online form. Scholarships are limited to one per applicant. Limit 3 scholarships per one district.

New and Updated eThemes for the week of August 20, 2012

No New eThemes:

  • If there is not currently an eTheme for a topic you need, simply fill out the on-line request form, and it will be created. New eTheme requests are accepted through the on-line requests from all eMINTS teachers as well as all school library media specialists in the state of Missouri.

Updated eThemes for the week of August 20, 2012:

Literature: “Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner

  • These sites relate to the book Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Try the online quizzes. Includes related subjects such as Wyoming, sled dogs, and potato farming.

Monica Beglau is the Executive Director of the eMINTS National Center.