Tag Archives: eThemes

Monday’s Message: May 2, 2011

With the big news last night, many of you are probably still buzzing or are dragging from having to stay up so late for the President’s announcement. Either way, the week and month are ready to commence. Here are a few news items from the eMINTS National Center:

  • Professional Development for Educational Technology Specialists (PD4ETS): If your district (either in Missouri or out-of-state) is planning to send someone to participate in Year 1 of the PD4ETS program beginning this summer, please email eMINTS. We are trying to assess the level of potential interest in the program so that we can plan accordingly. Several districts have already contacted us and we want to see where other possible participants may be located. For more information about PD4ETS, see our website at: http://www.emints.org/programs/pd4ets/index.shtml or call us at 573-884-7202. This is not a commitment, just a check point for planning purposes.
  • Ever wish you could communicate more effectively with the people you supervise, work with or train? Do you find it challenging to help people solve complicated problems they are facing or to change how they are teaching or working with others? The Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar® is an eight-day professional development opportunity for instructional coaches, administrators, teachers, mentors, professors, supervisors, eMINTS PD4ETS program participants, certified Educational Technology Specialists and anyone who wants to encourage self-directedness of others. Participants will learn strategies to increase others’ thinking potential and mediate thinking when working with someone who is planning, reflecting or struggling with a problem. Cognitive CoachingSM – a research-based model – encourages the process of decision-making to achieve goals through metacognition. If you are interested in learning more about supporting people in becoming self directed please visit http://www.emints.org/programs/cognitivecoaching/index.shtml to learn more about our Fall 2011 Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar.
  • eThemes Featured on Kathy Schrock Site: Many of you know of Kathy Schrock who is well-known for her website and blogs featuring great educational web resources. She placed eThemes on her SOS (Sites of the School Days) page: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/sos.html It is number 35. This is great recognition for eThemes and the wonderful resources you can find there.

HD Links: New at eThemes

We have shared eThemes before on this blog, but it is hard to ignore the vast number of resources available on the site. For those who are not familiar, this is what we said about eThemes in December”

eThemes is a collaboration of the eMINTS National Center and the University of Missouri which provides teachers with a “source for content-rich, kid-safe online resources that will help enhance […] teaching and save […] time.”

As always, there are new and revised eThemes every week…

New eThemes for the week of March 21, 2011

These sites have interactive resources on emotions and feelings. Learn about different emotions and how facial expression as well as gestures convey different emotions. Includes games, lesson plans, video clips, and printouts. There is also a link to eThemes Resource on Physiological Impact of Positive Emotions.

Labor Unions in the Workforce<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1935>
These sites provide an overview of labor unions in the U.S. workforce. They look at the pros and cons of unions; how unions affect the employment rate; and a pay scale comparison between union and nonunion workers. Includes informative articles, a lesson plan, and videos.

Literature: “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1153>
These sites are about “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary. There are lesson plans, activity ideas, teacher guides, a webquest, and online quizzes specifically for the book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” There are links to eThemes Resources on author Beverly Cleary, “Ralph S. Mouse”, and mice.

Safe Kids/Stranger Danger<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1257>
These sites focus on how children can learn to be safe and aware of potential dangerous situations. Learn how to be safe from strangers in various situations and how to protect yourself from strangers and other harmful situations. Includes safety rules and tips, lesson plans, interactive stories, and videos. There is a link to eThemes Resource on Internet Safety.

Teaching Tips: Constructivism<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1278>
These sites are about using constructivism in teaching. Teachers of kindergarten through high school will find information about constructivism on these sites. Included is an eThemes resource on inquiry based learning.

Teaching Tips: Service-Learning<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1216>
These sites provide resources for service-learning activities. Learn what service learning is and how to integrate service-learning into your curriculum. See exemplary service-learning projects in schools.Includes training guides, service-learning curriculum ideas, downloadable toolkits, and videos. There is a link to eThemes Resources: Writing: Letters: Friendly, Business, and Thank You.

Technology: Microsoft PowerPoint<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1159>
These sites contain resources on Microsoft PowerPoint software. Many tips and tutorials for PowerPoint presentations are provided. Students can learn PowerPoint skills such as changing backgrounds, transitions, entering text, hyperlinks, clip art, selecting colors and fonts, creating headers and footers, developing professional looking slides, and much more. Tutorials provided for Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, 2003 and 2000.

Updated eThemes for the week of March 21, 2011

Circus Acts and Animals<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1286>
These sites focus on circus animals, acts, and performers. There is historical information about circuses, plus photographs, audio files, and video clips.

Energy: Renewable and Non-Renewable: Graphic Approach<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1269>
These sites deal with energy in many forms, both renewable and non-renewable. Learn about hydropower, fossil fuels, nuclear, wave energy, fuel cells, solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass. Students can view many photographs on energy. Included are eThemes resources on windmills and energy.

Famous People: American Outlaws<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1270>
These sites highlight famous American outlaws and their gangs during Wild West. There are biographies, photos, robbery history, and interview transcripts. Includes a lesson plan and primary resources such as maps, newspapers, and wanted posters.

Figurative Language<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1254>
These sites are about figurative language in the context of reading. Includes idioms, jargon, slang, similes, metaphors, and personification. There are language definitions, lesson plans and activities, and interactive quizzes. Included are links to eThemes Resources on figurative language, similes, metaphors, and personification.

Grammar: Compound Sentences<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1271>
Here are resources for learning about compound sentences. There are interactive activities where students can combine simple sentences or identify conjunctions, printable worksheets, and ideas for hands-on lesson plans.

Math: Geometry: Composing and Decomposing Shapes<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1256>
These sites are about composing and decomposing shapes. Learn how to subdivide, combine, and transform shapes to form new polygons. There are interactive games, activities, and lesson plans. Included are three eThemes resources on shapes, transforming shapes, and pattern blocks and tangrams with related activities.

Math: Statistics<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1275>
These sites focus on basic statistics analysis including descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. There are information on data collection, data analysis, and data interpretation. Includes simulations, exercises, and lesson plans. There are links to eThemes resource on Statistics for Graphing and Probability.

Missouri Regions: Kansas City<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1258>
Learn all about Kansas City and its surrounding communities. Includes area history, geography, places, events, and people. Watch Missouri Heritage videos about Fort Osage, Kansas City, and Harry S. Truman.

Olympic Games: Bidding to Host Olympics 2012<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1282>
These Web sites are about the cities that are bidding to host the Olympics in 2012. Read about how a city is chosen to host the Olympics. Find out about London, New York, Madrid, Moscow, and Paris and the sports facilities they have available for the different competitions. Includes lesson plans that go along with the topic.

Olympic Games: Torch Relay<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1284>
These sites focus on the Olympics torch relay for the summer and winter games. Includes interactive maps, biographies of the torchbearers, videos, photographs, and answers to common questions about the torch. There are links to eThemes Resources on the summer and winter Olympics.

Solar System: Kuiper Belt Objects<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1277>
These sites are about Eris, Quaoar, and other bodies in the Kuiper belt. Included are eThemes on Pluto, Sedna, comets, and “What is a Planet?”

The Middle Ages<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/926>
Explore these sites and learn what it was like to live during the Middle Ages. Topics include serfs, kings, monasteries, and more. There are links to eThemes Resources on castles, knights, and children’s books that took place during the Middle Ages.

Thirteen Colonies: Founding History<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1259>
These sites are about the founding history of the first 13 colonies. Learn more about the history of each colony. Includes a link to an eThemes Resource on colonial daily life.

Transportation: Grades 1-2<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1279>
These sites about transportation are for children in grades 1-2. Topics covered include automobiles, trains, boats, and aircraft. There are also images and interactive games about the history and different forms of transportation.

Water Cycle: Hands-On Experiments<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1440>
These sites have hands-on experiments and projects about the water cycle and water purification. Learn how to make it rain in your kitchen and how to build your own water cycle environment. There are many other activity ideas, including a script for a play. There is a link to an eThemes Resource on water cycle explanations and illustrations.

Writing: 6 + 1 Writing Traits<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1283>
The 6 + 1 Writing Traits Model gives students and teachers a common language for talking about writing. The following sites have definitions, descriptions, rubrics, and exercises to help students become familiar with the characteristics of good writing. There are many interactive features so students can practice their own writing and learn how to evaluate effectively. There are video clips, prompts, activates, and examples of writing at different levels of accomplishment, as well as eThemes Resources on grammar, narrative, and text structure.

Writing: Conclusions<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1280>
What makes a good conclusion? On these websites you will find resources that describe effective conclusions and offer tips and strategies for writing them well. Different typs of conclusions for different methods of writing are discussed. Included are three eThemes resources on writing essays, research papers, and paragraphs.

Monday Message: U.S. Presidents (Day) Week

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In a continued effort to bring you resources and ideas that fit neatly into a theme each week, we here at NT&L are dedicating this week to U.S. Presidents, past and present. With Presidents Day approaching (February 21), we have a week of excellent posts planned to help you to take advantage of the holiday. Stay tuned all week as we post online tools, resource links, and provide a few teaching tips as to ways educators can make Presidents Day more meaningful to their students.

In the meantime, check out the new and updated eThemes available:

New eThemes for the week of February 7, 2011

Country: Argentina<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1899>
Learn about Argentina and its geography, history, and culture. Read about the country’s noted national heroes, an overview of Latin America, and links to Spanish language sites. Includes eThemes resources on Latin American Culture and Spanish for Middle and High School.

Literature: “The Barcode Tattoo” by Suzanne Weyn<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1901>
Learn about Suzanne Weyn, author of “The Barcode Tattoo” and her other novels. Some of the student activities on propaganda include a webquest,interactive advertising games, and an activity using newspaper ads.

Literature: Romanticism in American Literature<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1897>
These sites provide information about Romanticism in American Literature. Learn about the tenets of Romanticism as well as the lives and works of prominent writers of the time including Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, and others. Also includes literature units designed to encourage a greater understanding of the authors from this time period. There is a link to eThemes resources on Edgar Allen Poe.

Multicultural Literature: High School<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1900>
This site provides recommended book lists, the historical background of multicultural literature, and informational articles about multicultural literature. Author interviews and book trailers are provided.

Personal Finance: Investing<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1902>
Learn about personal finance and investing. Learn how to adjust your spending habits, play interactive games designed to teach the importance of personal finance concepts such as simple and compound interest, forms of saving and investing, and understanding stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Practice solving compound interest problems. Understand the importance of planning ahead for your retirement. Includes eThemes resources on Personal Finance and Budgeting and Budgets.

Roller Derby<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1903>
These sites are about the sport of roller derby. Includes game vocabulary, the current Male and Female Flat Track Derby Leagues, the history of the sport, rules involved in playing the modern version, and protective gear you need to get started. Includes suggested drills and skills to get your club into skating shape.

Updated eThemes for the week of February 7, 2011

Author Study: Edgar Allan Poe<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/750>
Learn more about American Gothic author Edgar Allan Poe. Includes full-text versions of his stories and poems, plus information about his life. There are lesson plans and suggested classroom activities. Includes an eThemes resource on the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

Author Study: Laura Numeroff<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1776>
This is a collection of sites about author Laura Numeroff and her circle stories. Includes biographical information about her life and work. There are several suggested classroom activities to go along with the books: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” “Dogs Don’t Wear Sneakers,” and “If You Take a Mouse to School.” There is a link to an eThemes Resource on mice.

Author Study: Patricia Polacco<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1686>
These websites are about author Patricia Polacco and her books. There are lesson plans, interactive activities, interviews, and biographies. Includes information about the learning disability of dyslexia, which Polacco has. There are links to eThemes resource on the Civil War, farming, and Christmas.

Author Study: Robert Munsch<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/532>
Find out about children’s author Robert Munsch. Read interviews and biographies to find out what books he has written. Online activities, classroom activities, discussion questions, and lesson plans are included.

Literature: “Math Curse” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1669>
These sites have classroom activity ideas for the book “Math Curse.” Read what other children have written about their own math courses and try to solve word problems. There are biographies for author Jon Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith. Includes a link to an eThemes Resource on Everyday Uses of Math.

Literature: “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/583>
There are summaries, suggested activities, and online quizzes about the book “Number the Stars.” Also learn about author Lois Lowry. Includes a link to an eThemes Resource on the Holocaust.

Literature: “Pictures of Hollis Woods” by Patricia Giff<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1799>
These websites are about the book “Pictures of Hollis Woods” and author Patricia Giff. See her official website to learn more about her. There are also worksheets, games, and lesson plans to go along with the book. Includes links to eThemes resources on hands-on crafts students can do in class in conjunction with reading the book.

Literature: “The Best School Year Ever” by Barbara Robinson<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/747>
These sites are about “The Best School Year Ever” and author Barbara Robinson. There are various reading and vocabulary activities for the classroom. Includes some sites on kindness, cooperation, and bullying. There are links to eThemes Resources on Book Activities, Story Elements, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson, and “The Best Halloween Ever” by Barbara Robinson

Literature: “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/375>
These sites are about the book “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo. Includes biographies on the author, book summaries, discussion questions, suggested activities, and a webquest. There are links to eThemes Resources on Fairy Tales, Recommended Reading for Elementary Students, “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine, Cinderella Stories, and “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo.

Literature: Recommended Reading for Elementary Students<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1003>
This resource is a compilation of booklist web sites for elementary school students. The lists were compiled by teachers, librarians, and students. Some of the lists are divided by grade level, readability, or genre. There are also links to eThemes resources on various literature awards and literature genres.

Logic Puzzle Games for Lower Grades<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/302>
These sites have logic puzzles and mind-challenging games for elementary students to practice logic reasoning skills. There are many Sudoku and variations. Included are both online and printable versions.

Physics: Potential and Kinetic Energy<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/57>
Learn about the different types of potential energy. Discover how potential energy transforms into kinetic energy while conserving the total amount of energy. Find out how to measure and calculate these types of energy. Includes animations, potential energy online calculator, lesson plan, in class activities, quizzes, and experiments. There are links to eThemes resources on roller coaster designs and forms of energy.

These websites are about propaganda. How is propaganda used to influence political opinion? How is advertising like propaganda? Here you can find articles and lesson plans, sites about the persuasive techniques used in propaganda, examples of real life propaganda, and information on critical thinking skills.

Reading Skills: Context Clues<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1641>
These sites focus on using contextual clues to determine the meaning of unknown words. The sites introduce different types of contextual clues and strategies on using the clues. Exercises, lesson plans, and a song are included. There are links to eThemes resources on Text Structures, Teaching Tips for Decoding Strategies, Synonyms and Antonyms, and Prefixes and Suffixes.

Reading Skills: Inference for Elementary School Students<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1675>
These websites can help elementary students learn how to infer while reading. There are activities, graphic organizers, and short lessons on inference. Includes a link on inference for middle school students.

Space: International Space Station<http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/725>
These sites are about the International Space Station that orbits earth. Learn about the history of its development, its mission, and the astronauts who have lived there. Includes videos, animations, and photographs. There is a link to an eThemes resource on space exploration.

Thursday’s Tip: Graphic Organizers

All of us use graphic organizers with our students to organize and compartmentalize their thinking. The trouble is that we typically get stuck in using the same old graphic aids and for the same old purposes. Below are some tips for mixing up the kinds and purposes for using graphic organizers in your classroom:

  • Consider using graphic aids as assessment. A summative assessment might demonstrate all the content a student has gathered over a unit of study, but relationships between concepts can take that learning deeper. Formative assessment can also be aided throughout a unit as a way to check in with students’ understandings.
  • Here is a great rubric for graphic organizers. Graphic organizers like most any product students create in class can have specific guidelines to follow while still maintaining an open-ended possibilities.
  • Sometimes it’s great to have a large collection of graphic organizers to print out an allow students to freely use in order to organize their thinking. Teacher Vision provides a rather comprehensive collection of graphic aids you can print out and have at your disposal. (Also, see Holt.) If you want to personalize your graphic aid print-outs, try Teachnology’s collection of generators.
  • Would you rather save paper? There’s always software such as Inspiration or SMART Ideas, but there are also some online options. There’s Webspiration, bubbl.us, Cacoo, Gliffy, or Grapholite. If you like free like the previously mentioned web apps but would prefer a download, try Cmap. These tools and many others can be found at Lee’s Summit (MO) IT page for graphic organizers.
  • A great way to use graphic organizers in an inquiry-based classroom is to create the graphic without labels. The students can use some deductive reasoning in order to define the parameters of the graphic aid. For example: Place a list of spelling words with similar patterns in two different circles. Have the students figure out what the rule is for each group and why the words are separated.
  • Provide students with multiple graphic organizers from which to choose. Then, have them justify their choices as part of the learning process.
  • It is important to remember that graphic organizers can be useful to all types of learners. Higher order thinking can be involved as students purposefully consider the relationships between concepts. Graphic organizers can also be a way to make more complex ideas clearer for struggling learners. Plus, graphic aids can be a pleasant alternative for those students who are more visually-inclined.
  • Check out eThemes for more resources on graphic organizers!

Remember that graphic organizers can be used in a multitude of ways for all grade levels and subject areas. How do you use graphic organizers in your classroom?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Tuesday’s Tool: eThemes

eThemes is a collaboration of the eMINTS National Center and the University of Missouri which provides teachers with a “source for content-rich, kid-safe online resources that will help enhance […] teaching and save […] time.”

Some new eThemes are listed below, courtesy of weekly eThemes updates:

Author Study: Rick Riordan http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1869
These sites are about the author Rick Riordan and “The Percy Jackson” series. The “39 Clues” series and “The Kane Chronicles” series are also presented. Includes games, author interviews, and interactive maps with numerous links to search.

Chemistry: Chemical Reactions http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1870
These sites demonstrate the different types of chemical reactions. Students can see videos of more dangerous or complex reactions, and laboratory experiments are included. Also included are eThemes resources on Chemical Equations and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions.

Here are some old favorites that were recently updated eThemes:

Animals: Vertebrates and Invertebrates http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/664
These sites explain how vertebrates and invertebrates are classified in the animal kingdom. There is information about the five groups of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) and the seven phylum of invertebrates (sponges, coelenterates, echinoderms, worms, mollusks, and arthropods). Includes games that have students guess a type of animal based upon clues about its characteristics. For more information about specific animal species, browse our alphabetical listing of eThemes animal topics.

Author Study: Jan Brett http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1071
Find out about children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett. Read interviews and biographies to find out what books she has written and illustrated. Includes online activities, classroom activities, and lesson plans.

Colonial America http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1183
These websites are about life in colonial North America, particularly the English colonies. Learn how colonists lived, explore original documents, and find out who lived in these regions before the English settled there. There are interactives, games, quizzes, videos, and more. Included are eThemes resources on the thirteen colonies as well as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.

Literature: “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Munoz Ryan http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1775
Find summaries and reviews of the book “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Munoz Ryan. Read the biography and an interview with the author. Learn about Mexico, the Mexican Revolution, the Great Depression, migrant workers, and labor camps. The following sites include photographs, maps, video files, a lesson plan, and a quiz.

Literature: “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/1153
These sites are about “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary. There are lesson plans, activity ideas, teacher guides, a webquest, and online quizzes specifically for the book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” There are links to eThemes Resources on author Beverly Cleary, “Ralph S. Mouse”, and mice.

Missouri: Juvenile Justice System http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/103
These websites are about Missouri’s Juvenile Justice System. There is information about the history of the system, how Missouri’s system compares to other states, lesson plans, and information about real cases that went through the system.

Reading Skills: Inference for Middle School Students http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/848
These websites are about using inference while reading. Find out why inference skills are important and how to infer while reading. Includes lessons, activities, and graphic organizers. There is a link to an eTheme on inference skills for elementary school students.

World War II for Elementary Students http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/544
These websites are about World War II. Learn why the war started and what life was like for children during the war. Includes games, quizzes, videos, and audio interviews with World War II veterans. There are links to eThemes resources on the Holocaust and the 1930s.

Writing: Biographies http://ethemes.missouri.edu/themes/997
These sites offer tips for writing biographies. There are lesson plans, helpful handouts, rubrics, an online tutorial, and examples of biographies written by elementary students. Also include a video on writing process.

If you have not checked out eThemes, do so now. There are all kinds of great resources ready for your perusal. No need to waste precious time searching for just the right resources, appropriate for your students. The community of teachers and contributors at eThemes have done the work for you!

Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center. Besides heading up Networked Teaching & Learning, he occasionally blogs at Suppl_eMINTS.