Tag Archives: Cara

eMINTS Pre-Conference Announcement

These 3-hour hands-on workshops are offered from 1:00 – 4:00 on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 to kick off this year’s eMINTS National Center Conference.

Wock Your Webpage with Weebly – Learn how to transform your online classroom webpage with Weebly – and you can link to the world!

Applying Research-based Strategies Using SMART Products – Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to connect the Nine Instructional Strategies to your SMART Notebook lessons to improve student achievement.

Digital Journey to Authentic Learning – Participants will learn how to blend creativity into student-centered activities and how to use Share software to create and publish in the 21st Century classroom.

Unlocking the Potential of Google Apps – Participants will experience the benefits of using Google Apps within their buildings, grade level teams and even with students.

Using Open Source Content in the Blended Classroom – explore technical tools that are freely accessible online for public use and how these tools can economically extend your classrooms into the 21st century- expanding the learning experience and opportunities for all.

Visit http://www.emints.org/conference-2012/conference-schedule/ for more information on these workshops, keynotes, and all of the breakout sessions offered at our annual eMINTS National Center Conference. Hurry! Registration closes on February 3, 2012.

We hope to see you there!

Cara Wylie

eMINTS National Center Conference Coordinator

Tuesday’s Tool: Doodle

I wish I would have thought of this post about a month ago because the information may have saved several teachers from relying upon slips of paper or multiple e-mails to confirm parent-teacher conference appointments. Doodle.com offers a very easy way to set up a poll to schedule a meeting with multiple people.

The “schedule an event” feature allows you to find a common open meeting day and time for several people. This is great for committee meetings or event planning. Or, you could use it to offer an opportunity for people to “sign up” for a time to meet with you, such as parent-teacher conferences.

The “make a choice” poll allows you to gather all individual preferences or choices in one place. For example, if you are the head coach for your daughter’s soccer team, then you can use Doodle.com to find out which day is best for your players to practice by setting up a “make a choice” poll.

The “meet me” feature allows you to schedule 1:1 meetings and will sync with your Outlook, Google or Doodle calendar. This is great for scheduling after school tutoring sessions and advisory appointments.

Other great features include:
• the ability to view the information as a table or in a calendar
• the ability to export to Excel or PDF
• notifications sent to your email when participants provide information – you may turn this feature off
• immediate results
• the option of hiding results from participants
• it is very easy to set up and very easy to use
• registration is not required to use the site – registration is required for creating and editing polls
• it is FREE!

As mentioned before, this post could have been more helpful earlier this year. However, there will be plenty of scheduling challenges in the future. Therefore, the next time you face the tedious task of schedule a meeting or event, consider using Doodle.com. It will help to simplify and expedite the process.

Cara Wylie is an area instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

Thursday’s Tip: Cabinet Making is Not Just for Carpenters

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Do your students ever ask about how the U.S. President keeps track of all of the information simultaneously occurring in the United States and around the world? He assembles a Cabinet of highly experienced leaders in each of the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs. As Presidents’ Day approaches, let’s help students take a deeper look inside the decision-making process of the presidency. Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Students’ understanding of the decision-making process in Washington D.C. typically centers on elected officials and their roles in the three branches of government. They often fall short of understanding that there are many un-elected officials who greatly influence the decisions made in Washington. Taking a deeper look into the members of a President’s Cabinet can reveal a lot about why the President makes certain decisions. Students can gain a deeper understanding of our democracy, the process of decision-making, the impact of decisions, leadership qualities, and the interdependence of each department. Students can also gain a deeper understanding of the impact Cabinet Members have had throughout history. For example, they might investigate and debate the strong criticism the Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, received during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There are numerous interdisciplinary units that can be developed around this topic. This might even lead to students reflecting on their own process for decision-making and who they should select to be a part of their Cabinets.

Cara Wylie is an area instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

HD Link: Behold

Courtesy of Behold
Are you tired of the time it takes you and your students to find high-quality free images?
Check out Behold™! Behold™ is a search engine for high-quality Flickr images. It searches images based on visual concepts in pictures. For example, when I typed in “city” I got several pages of fabulous pictures but not all of them were quite what I was expecting. Behold™ offers a way to refine your search by choosing from a menu of filters for what the image should “look like.”
So, in addition to my original search for “city” images, I also chose three different filters: building, people, and silhouette. Each time I changed the filter, my results changed.
For more information and video tutorials, visit http://www.behold.cc/about/. To get started, go to http://www.behold.cc/. You will be amazed at the quality of the images!
Cara Wylie is an area specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

We Use Math in Science?

My son came home from school today and asked me if I had a ruler. He said in a very irritated tone, “We are learning metric in science which is stupid!” I asked him, “Why is that stupid?” He responded with a “like duh” look on his face, “Because it’s math, not science!” We did have a short conversation, to his dismay, about all the ways we use math in our daily lives and connected them to the different “subject” areas.

Afterwards, I began thinking about what he said. Somewhere along the way, my sixth grader has learned how to identify and categorize subjects, topics, etc. However, he has not learned to see things globally and how they interconnect. I know I’ve had these conversations before with both of my children. But, his experiences have been very “packaged” into the core subject areas of math, science, social studies, and communication arts.

My kids have both had very dedicated, knowledgeable, and conscientious teachers throughout their entire school career. Both were fortunate enough to be in an eMINTS classroom for one year. However, the majority of their education has been textbook and worksheet driven.

My challenge to all teachers this year is to keep going back to those essential questions and the five E’s from the inquiry-based lesson plan. I know it is challenging. I found it difficult to take the time to create authentic learning activities for my students while making sure I met the GLE’s and the Standards. However, the learning and improved process and social skills that authentic learning fostered made it worth my extra time and effort.

Think of ways you can intertwine concepts from all the core subjects. Here are few ideas:

  • During math lessons, infuse historical information about when those concepts were developed and how they changed cultures, economies, and life in general.
  • During social studies lessons, have students communicate in ways in which they communicated during that time period and have them reflect on how information was transferred, perceived, and sometimes lost.
  • During science lessons, allow students to explore how science shaped history. Give them an opportunity to find relationships between science and math.
  • During communication arts lessons, use forms of writing to help students connect to their world.
  • Art and music lessons can provide an opportunity for developing a deeper understanding of customs, cultures, and history.

The list is short, but hopefully it will spark some ideas on how you can create authentic experiences for your students. Maybe one day I will have a conversation with my grandchildren about learning metric in science and their response will be something like, “Why wouldn’t learn math in science? We use it all the time!”

Cara Wylie is an  area instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.