Category Archives: Resource Links

eMINTS Weekly Update

Welcome to the 2012-2013 School Year with eMINTS! The Weekly Update feature resumes beginning today. Updates are published weekly on Mondays except for holidays.

eLearning for Educators: Fall registration is now open until Wednesday, Sept. 19. The Fall 2012 semester is from Oct. 3 – Nov. 20, 2012. Courses cost $150 per course. Optional Graduate Credit is available at an additional fee of $100 per credit hour through the University of Missouri-Kansas City or University of Missouri-St. Louis. A limited number of scholarships are available. You can even apply for a scholarship that reduces the cost of an e-Learning course to $75 by filling out an online form. Scholarships are limited to one per applicant. Limit 3 scholarships per one district. There are three NEW course offerings this semester:

  • Thinking Critically with Data (all)
  • Going Mobile K-12: Capturing the Power of Smart Phones, Tablets, Apps and More (all)
  • Flipped, Upside-down and Blended Instruction for the K-12 Classrooms (all)
  • Some of the additional courses available for the Fall 2012 semester are:
  • Algebraic Thinking in the Elementary School (elementary)
  • Beyond Your Schoolyard:  An Intro to GPS, Geocaching and Google Earth (all)
  • Classroom Management (all)
  • Differentiating Instruction:  Empowering All Learners (all)
  • Early Childhood: Creating a Language-Rich Environment  (early childhood)
  • Google Tools for Schools (all)
  • Heart of Science Instruction (secondary science)
  • Improving Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (secondary)
  • Instructional Approaches for Teachers of English Language Learners (all)
  • Leading Schools in a Web 2.0 World (administrators)
  • Special Students in Regular Classrooms:  Technology, Teaching and Universal Design (all)
  • Teaching Writing in the Elementary Classroom (elementary)

To see the complete list of courses offered this semester, go to:

Share the Good News: Do you have something special to report about your school or classroom? An honor or award that has been presented? Share the good news with your eMINTS colleagues across the US and world by sending details about the good news to

New eThemes for the Week of August 13, 2012:

  • Africa: National Parks – These sites are about Africa’s National Parks. Learn about the animals, the climate, and the purposes behind why National Parks play an important role in Africa. Includes a link to an eThemes resource on the continent of Africa.
  • Circus Acts and Animals – These sites focus on circus animals, acts, and performers. There is historical information about circuses, plus photographs, audio files, and video clips.
  • Teaching Tips: “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey – These websites are about Sean Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” There are summaries of the habits, as well as advice and lesson plans for incorporating the 7 Habits into the daily lives of teens. Includes a link to eThemes resource, Goal Setting.

Updated eThemes for the week of August 13, 2012:

  • Literature: “Dear Mr. Henshaw” by Beverly Cleary -These sites are about the book “Dear Mr. Henshaw” by Beverly Cleary. There are several hands-on classroom activities including how to make a lunch box alarm. Students can take online quizzes over vocabulary and events from the book. Includes eThemes Resources on Beverly Cleary and letter writing.
  • Literature: “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs – These sites are about the short story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs. Includes full text of the story, quizzes, lesson plans, and vocabulary worksheets. There are also links to games about short story elements and a booklist of other horror stories and books. Includes links to eTheme resources on Story Elements and Character Traits.

Become a Blog Contributor: Share your insights and thoughts with eMINTS blog followers and fans. Contribute to the blog and community learning by submitting a blog post, resource link, online tool or teaching tip.

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

Starting the Year with Community

As many of you begin to prepare for the first days of school, you may be pondering ideas for creating a strong sense of community in your classroom. Educator Chris Biffle shares one holistic approach at his website He shares ideas for grabbing the students’ attention and directly engaging them throughout the entire instructional process. His methods assist educators on creating a fun engaging classroom, where even challenging students thrive. This brain based approach puts the fun back into the classroom for both the teacher and the students. To view the basics of this approach view this YouTube video: The BIG 6 of Power teacher are:

  1. Class Yes
  2. The Five Rules
  3. The Scoreboard Game
  4. Hands and Eyes
  5. Teach-OK
  6. The Switch

If I had to choose just a “few” to introduce on the first day, I think it would have to be “Class Yes” and “The Five Rules”. I think these basic classroom management tools will have your classroom booming with student engagement and strengthen the sense of community from day one. “Class Yes” is an approach used to focus the classes’ attention. The teacher says “class” and the students say “yes”. This works because it gives the students something to do immediately and prepares them for the teacher. Part of this method’s effectiveness is it has the students mirror the tone the teacher uses. For example the teacher could drag out the word and add a funny voice “clllllasssssss”, which the students would respond mirroring the teacher “yeeeeessssss”. On the first days of school, it is common to start with sharing the classroom rules. In the video you saw a demonstration for “The Five Rules”. Each rule uses visual, auditory and kinesthetic movement to help students reach a deeper understanding of how the rules relate to the expectations of the teacher and the success of the classroom as a community. Here is a brief explanation of “The Five Rules”:

  • Follow Directions Quickly (wiggling hand moving forward)
  • Raise Your Hand for permission to speak. (Raise hand, make a talking mouth hand)
  • Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. (Raise hand, make walking motion with two fingers)
  • Make smart choices (point to brain)
  • Keep your teacher happy! (frame your face, wag head back and forth smiling)

This is just one way to begin building classroom community…. How might you foster and sustain a sense of classroom community during the first days of school? Amy Blades is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

FUNdamentals of Learning: An Intel Webinar

We have often talked about PLN (Personal Learning Networks) in the blog but I thought I might share a specific site that you may want to add to your PLN.  It is the Teachers Engage site from Intel.  This is a community of educators K-12 and the focus is transforming learning with the integration of technology.  It is free to register and provides many helpful ideas and tools to use in the classroom.

There are discussion boards, webinars, unit plans, and various communities you can join to meet your particular interests and needs.  The resources that are provided are excellent and there are so many of them.

I mentioned webinars, an example of one of the webinars you should attend is tonight, Aug. 7th at 6:00 Central time. Doug Caldwell, Debbie Perkins, and Julie Szaj, all eMINTS Instructional Specialist, will casino online be presenting a webinar called The FUNdamentals of Learning.   In this webinar, they “will present on websites that help teachers and students get, become, stay engaged. Focusing on middle school-aged resources, they will show tools and have participants brainstorm classroom uses with an emphasis on back to school planning.”

If you are interested in the Teachers Engage or just want to check out a webinar, come and join them tonight and see if maybe Teachers Engage is a site you might want to add to your PLN.

Terri Brines is an eIS and Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer for the eMINTS National Center.

Access/Share Google Docs in Edmodo & the Power of My PLN

Edmodo and Google Users…

I guess I am a bit behind in the game because I just realized you can access your Google Docs in Edmodo now. This new feature came about in March and allows you to Sync your Google Docs (Drive) with your Edmodo Library. That means you can share documents with your Edmodo groups and students can easily turn-in assignments completed via Google Docs.Find the instructions to do this at the Edomod Help site. FYI all users will need to link their Google Docs account with Edmodo before and sharing of docs with users or groups takes place.

Wondering how I heard about this new feature of Edmodo??? Maybe not but here’s the power of my PLN…

I found this blog (while I was browsing Pinterest one evening). It’s by a Digital Learning Coordinator in the Chicago Public Schools > Teaching like it’s 2999 . I first pinned her idea to my “learn” Pinterest board and then visited her blog and found that what the author, Jennie Magiera, blogged about was so connected to what I do so I added it to my Google Reader.

One day this week Google Reader showed that the author had posted something new to her blog called More Ideas to Googlize Your School. That post linked to a Google Doc that she was going to share at a presentation she was doing with teachers. As I scanned the doc I noticed a reference to “Edmodo’s Google Doc integration” so I did a Google searched for edomodo google docs and came up with the link that I shared with you all above.

Isn’t that so cool…in a nerdy sort of way 🙂 In what ways do you “harvest” great teaching ideas from the web? And a big shout out to Jennie Magiera for sharing her ideas and more with us all.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists, Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer, and sporadic blogger for the eMINTS National Center. This post was originally posted at the Higgins’ Helpful Hints Blog.

Participating in the eMINTS Conversation

Maybe the biggest benefit of the Web is the fact that conversations are happening everywhere about almost any topic. The eMINTS community is no different. We have many opportunities for conversation within our many web-based outlets.

This blog is one of those outlets. Commenting or submitting your own blog posts makes Networked Teaching & Learning a perfect location for finding new ideas and resources as well as interacting with others in the eMINTS community. Even if you don’t submit a post or comment, NT&L offers teachers a variety of teaching ideas, online resources, and updates from the eMINTS National Center.

Like many of you, eMINTS has a presence on Facebook. Facebook has made it easier and easier to connect personally and professionally with various networks of people. eMINTS meets you there with a Facebook Page and Group. Both spaces keep you updated as well as allow you to connect to other educators in the eMINTS network.

For those who prefer the professional connections of LinkedIn, eMINTS has you covered there as well. Join the eMINTS Group at LinkedIn as a way to make connections with like-minded educators in a completely professional network.

Two other places to follow eMINTS-related discussions are on Twitter and Tumblr. My Twitter account mostly shares links from this blog, but I will occasionally engage conversations under #edtech and #edchat hashtags. If you’re a Tumblr user, be sure to follow the posts at the eMINTS Tumblr, primarily set up to share resources.

Finally, I will beginning to host Google Hangouts in an attempt to find new and exciting web applications for classroom use. If you are interested in participating in these Hangouts,  add me to your G+ circle and message me about inclusion in the Hangout. Even if the Hangout fills up (there’s a limit of nine participants), it’s an opportunity to chat with other eMINTS educators, possibly setting up your own Hangouts.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Staying Connected & Collaborating

School is out for summer (unless of course you are teaching summer school) and you might be finding that you miss those colleagues you normally see day to day. Your normal routine of getting to talk with, share your classroom ideas and success, and bounce ideas off of for some upcoming projects has been put on hold but does it really have to stop. I say no!!!

Click for Source

Why not check out some virtual options? Tools like Edmodo, Facebook, and Twitter can help you to continue your collegial collaboration, stay connected, and possibly take it a step further. You might even extend your normal summertime routines to include expanding your professional learning with a little lightly structured, informal PD.What’s better…they are free tools and are easy to use.

Edmodo is a great option for setting up a virtual classroom or collaborative sharing space (they call these groups). Everyone in your group will need to create an account (FYI adults are considered Teachers and kids are Students) One person will need to create the Group and then share the Code Edmodo creates with everyone that will be a part of that group. Then let the sharing begin. Resource links and documents are easy to share as well as basic communications. Check out the Edmodo Help page for help getting started or attend a Webinar for more ideas and support. I attended a webinar last week and got a lot of great ideas for not only the teachers that I train but also for schools and organizations that I work with.

Facebook Groups are another option for sharing and learning from others. eMINTS has their own Facebook group where these Networked Teaching & Learning posts are shared but also other resources. Anyone belonging to the group can share on the eMINTS group page as well. Members can add posts, links, share photos/video, conduct polls, and upload files. If your team members already have Facebook accounts and are ready for an group online presence to do these kinds of things, maybe creating a Facebook Group is the answer for you. If you need some help there are very easy steps to follow and you can even set privacy settings to allow only your Friends in your group. Learn more about Facebook Groups from Facebook or from a post from Zac back in August 2011.

Twitter offers an even easy way to connect with no need to create pages or groups on a different website. Basically all that needs to happen is that each person in your collaborative circle needs to have a Twitter account. You each need to share your usernames and “follow” each other. Start by sharing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, resources, tools, and inspirations and watch your Wwitter homepage for what others are sharing back. With Twitter there is no pressure or need to be wordy, chatty, long-winded, etc…all you need are 140 characters. Need some help with Twitter? Check out their support page for basic support and more.

With all of these tools it does take some discipline and conscious effort to be a productive member but as long as everyone shares a little you can all learn a lot.

What are some things you are collaborating on this summer and what tools work for your group?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists for the eMINTS National Center.

Get Ready to Jump to Google Drive

Almost everyone associated with eMINTS – teachers, administrators, instructional specialists -has adopted Google Docs as their preferred online collaboration and production tool. Now, Google is taking their cloud-loving system a step further with Drive. Watch…

With Google Drive, creating and collaborating is still a key feature. However, now storing and finding your files are as effortless as… well… everything else on Google. Plus, Google Drive has a downloadable app to make synching easy, much like DropBox. Each user receives 5GB of storage for free with an option to upgrade for a small fee.

For more details on the benefits of switching over to Google Drive, read Google’s blog post on this new feature. There’s also a Droid app for even more syncing options. Below are a few more articles and blog posts on Google’s newest product:

When do you plan to make the leap to Google Drive? How will this affect your DropBox use? What advantages do you see to Google Drive over the old version of Google Docs?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

While you’re enjoying the nice Memorial Day Weekend weather, grilling with friends, or counting down the end of school, consider a few Memorial Day resources. As always, Larry Ferlazzo hosts one of the most comprehensive lists of resources on any topic, Memorial Day not excluded. Then, there’s always the US Department of Veteran Affairs website as well as the infographic below.

Have a great three-day weekend!


Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

New & Updated Posts on eThemes

New eThemes for the week of May 21, 2012

Australia: Famous People<>

Learn about famous people from Australia from a wide variety of disciplines. There are famous leaders, writers, noble prize winners, scientists, musicians, athletes, and many more that have shaped and made great contributions to Australia. Includes videos and photos. There is also a link to eThemes Resource on Australia: Facts.

Cartoons for the Classroom<>

These sites feature comic strips that teachers can use in the classroom to introduce units or concepts. Includes popular comic strips such as Peanuts, For Better or For Worse, Zits, and many more. There are also biographies on famous cartoon artists and an interactive game that lets you create your own cartoon. Includes eThemes resources on superheroes and political cartoons.

Literature: “The Watsons Go to Birmingham –1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis<>

These sites are about the book, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963”, and the author Christopher Paul Curtis. Includes lesson plans, activities, and author interviews. There is a link to an eThemes Resource on the Civil Rights Movement.

Literature: “Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt<>

These sites have activity ideas, online quizzes, discussion questions, and lesson plans for the book “Tuck Everlasting.” Also learn about author Natalie Babbitt and the Disney movie based on this book. There are links to eThemes Resources on the life cycle, the water cycle, and story elements.

Updated eThemes for the week of May 21, 2012

Africa: Adinkra Cloths<>

These sites show and tell about the history of adinkra cloths, an art form from the Asante people of Ghana and the Gyaman people of Cote’ d’lvoire. Includes sites about the Ashanti tribe that also wears this type of clothing. There are also related eThemes sites on Africa and Ghana.


These sites include information on aging and the effects on the human body. Discover why our bodies age. Learn how aging affects appearance, exercise, and eating habits. Includes interactive quizzes, an animation, and face changing images.

Country: Syria<>

These websites are about the country of Syria. Learn about the history, government, touristic sites, economy, human resources, geography & environment, foreign affairs, holidays, the people of Syria, & helpful facts, including maps and photos of the country. Also included is the eThemes resource on the religion of Islam.

Ecosystems: An Overview<>

These sites are an overview of ecosystems including what they are, how they are different from and related to habitats and biomes, and how to preserve ecosystems. Classroom activities and online exercises are included. There are links to eThemes resources on animal survival and habitats including overview, deserts, forests, grasslands, ponds and lakes, rainforests, tundras, wetlands, and mountains.

Literature Theme: Nonfiction: Tolerance<>

These sites are about tolerance. Find out which nonfiction books deal with tolerance. There are also classroom activities and a case study that have a tolerance theme. Includes eThemes resource on Literature Themes: Bullying.

Literature: “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles<>

These sites provide study guides, web quests, writing, and research activities for the novel. Background author information is given as well as comments about the book by John Knowles. Additional information about PTSD, World War II, and an interview project involving veterans is included.

Literature: “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding<>

These sites provide lesson plans, writing and research activities. Tests and interactive time lines are included as well as a text messaging lesson that explores the boys’ communication on the island. Video clips which summarize the plot, character and themes of the novel are entertaining and informative.

Literature: “Dear America” Native American Experience Books<>

This site provides activities for the Dear America books: “The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow” by Ann Turner, “The Journey of Jesse Smoke” by Joseph Bruchac, “Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets” by Patricia Clark Smith, and “My Heart is on the Ground” by Ann Rinaldi. Three of the books focus on Native American children in the eighteenth century. Weetamoo is the story of a Wampanoag girl in 1653. There are study guides, discussion questions, and author interviews. Follow the eThemes Resource links to learn about their Nations, Navajo, Cherokee, Wampanoag and Sioux. Also included is an eThemes link to Historical Fiction.

Literature: “Listen!” by Stephanie S. Tolan <>

These sites are about the book “Listen!” by Stephanie S. Tolan. There is information about such as the author’s biography, book chapters, and reviews. Includes topics on coping with death, grief, and loss. There is also a link to eThemes Resource on dogs.

Literature: “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli<>

These websites are about the book “Stargirl” and author Jerry Spinelli. Explore the author’s official website to learn more about him. There are book discussion guides, student hand-outs, audio of Jerry Spinelli reading from Stargirl, and student extension activities. One activity involves suggestions for beginning a Stargirl society at school. Includes a link to an eThemes Resource on the literature theme of bullying.

Teaching Tips: SMART Board Resources<>

These sites provide SMART Board resources for various subjects and grade levels. There are downloadable lessons, interactive websites, templates, interactive videos, and teaching ideas. There is a link to eThemes Resource on Math: Smart Board Activities.


These sites are about the Alamo and the Mexican-American War. Take a 360-degree virtual tour of the site and view many photos. There are timelines and first-person accounts. Includes information on Sam Houston, Spanish missions, and the Southwest region of the United States.

U.S. Imperialism<>

Learn about the Progressive Era of the United States by looking into the Presidencies of McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson. Also included are primary sources from the time, including government policies, military actions and war information.Included are eThemes resources on Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, the Spanish American War, and World War I.

Technology: Digital Scrapbooking<>

These sites offer ideas for creating digital scrapbooks that use various software programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, PowerPoint, Paint Shop Pro, and Digital Image Pro. There are examples, step-by-step instructions, tutorials, and graphics for digital scrapbook creation. Tips and techniques to enhance digital scrapbooks are included.

Technology: Movie Maker Projects<>

These sites focus on how to integrate technology, specifically digital movies, in the classroom. Ideas, lesson plans, and samples of movie projects are included. An eThemes on Windows 2.1 Movie Maker is included.

Teaching Tips: iPods in Education<>

These sites focus on integrating iPods in elementary education. Find many possibilities of using iPods in education and learn how teachers incorporate iPods into regular and special education classrooms. Includes lesson plans and video clips. There are also links to eThemes Resources on Podcasting: Educational Examples and Technology: Audios for Podcasting.

One Year Ago: May 17-20, 2011

Since this blog has been around for just over 18 months, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to look back now and again at the many great resources and ideas we’ve shared. After you read the following posts, feel free to search through our archives for resources that might help you as you plan for the end of this year or prepare for the fall.

Tuesday, May 17: Create Quick and Easy Visual Organizers
Brooke introduced us to the exciting graphic organizer tool called Popplet. Popplet’s strength lied in its iPad app, but the online version offers plenty of uses despite its beta status. Brooke summarizes:

Popplet is a Web 2.0 tool for creating graphic/visual organizers with a simple, easy to use platform. Popplet allows users to explore ideas, create galleries, record thoughts, collect inspiration, collaborate together, and present it all to the world.

Wednesday, May 18: Five Helpful Links
I posted five links to resources and tools that would be helpful for teachers and students.  The first link led readers to Lifehacker‘s “Emailable Tech Support” feature where users could email these articles to those needing basic tech support. Also included in my post are links to YouTube’s political debate channel; the file-sharing, online application Fyle; Google Public Data Explorer; and an Edutopia article on differentiation through technology.

Thursday, May 19: Helping Students Learn Through Reflection
In this post, Brooke shares a few suggestions for helping student learn through reflection. Included with the strategies, Brooke has also cited several useful web apps such as, and

Friday, May 20: Shared Experiences
A Twitter user’s shared image of the space shuttle from her plane made her an instant sensation. This example brought home the power of social media to share similar experiences with many people at one time.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.